Maths - Resource of the week

28th October 2011 at 01:00
Tarsia - give one answer, find the other

Each week Craig Barton, creator of, picks out a TES maths resource that has caught his eye and records a short video about it. Please share your thoughts or pass on your thanks to the author in the comments section.

What is it?

The use of Tarsia software in mathematics lessons first came to light when an example was included in the ever-popular Standards Units a few years ago. Since then its popularity has continued to grow. The main reason that Tarsia resources are so popular is their versatility - the user can very quickly create jigsaws, dominoes, matching games and follow-me cards for virtually any topic for any age of student, from primary school right up to high-flying Year 13 further maths students. This particular resource was created and donated to my website by Gill Hillitt.

Why I like it

Gill's Tarsia jigsaw tests students' understanding of questions such as: "If 56 x 123 equals 6,888, what does 5.6 x 1.23 equal?" This is an area of mathematics that tends to cause problems in the exam, with decimal points seemingly being placed at random in the answer box. Due to the design of the resource, any misconceptions students might have are unearthed.

What comes next?

The other great thing about Tarsia resources is that they can easily be adapted to lend more support or offer a greater challenge. Informing students of the centrepiece, or parts of the border, gets them off to a good start. If you are feeling particularly nasty, a deliberate mistake can keep even the most able on their toes.

Find these resources and others at


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