UPDATE 10/22/2020: Jigsaw Explorer now has a feature to hide puzzle previews in case you want students to solve the puzzle before seeing the final picture. Learn more here!
Want to add a little light fun to your online classrooms? How about doing a collaborative jigsaw puzzle? Jigsaw Explorer might be just the ticket for a bit of community building.
There are many online jigsaw puzzle sites out there, as I found out when I started doing a bit of research on this topic. Techie Teacher wrote a great post about using Jigsaw Planet. But I had the specific criteria that I wanted it to be a site where I could use my own picture (so I could possibly use something connected to the curriculum), and that it could be easily collaborative. Jigsaw Explorer seems to fit the bill.
You can, of course, use the puzzles already provided on Jigsaw Explorer – including their Friday mystery puzzles which only give you part of the image. This particular site does not allow you to actually upload pictures initially*, so you need to get the web address of the picture you want to use. I did a Creative Commons Search for a picture of the frog life cycle, right-clicked, saved the image address, and pasted it here. You can then add credits to your puzzle and choose the number of pieces. Once you create it, you are given links to share the puzzle, and an embed code if you want to put it on your own website. When you open a puzzle you’ve made, you will see an icon with the silhouette of two people, which allows you to share the puzzle in multiplayer mode. You choose a nickname and create a game link to copy and share. Up to 20 people can be working on the same puzzle at a time. Here are more instructions for the multiplayer games. *Also, if you do actually want to upload a picture you already have on your computer, you can click on the three lines in the top left within a puzzle to make your own.
I tried doing an activity like this last year, when I was doing a digital breakout (escape room), and the students were supposed to put the puzzle together to reveal a clue. I didn’t realize that there was a preview button so they actually didn’t need to solve the puzzle! Unfortunately, this is the case on all of the online jigsaw puzzle sites that I found. However, I found this great video from Joli Boucher that shows how you can put a jigsaw puzzle on Google slides. It’s a bit time-consuming, but definitely an option if you are trying to keep the final picture a mystery. (For other ideas for digital breakout tools, you can visit this post.)
Since I have family members and friends who love to do jigsaw puzzles, I’m hoping to do a Zoom Jigsaw party soon! One idea for the classroom might be to showcase student art by making it into a jigsaw puzzle. You’re all so creative, I am sure you will think of lots of ways to use this with your students.