Monday, 10 October 2011


There has been talk on Twitter this evening of a free-to-download program called Tarsia.  Designed as a Maths program, it is also incredibly useful for MFL teachers.  With it you can make dominoes, follow-me cards and shape puzzles.  Above you can see an example of some dominoes and below is an example of a shape puzzle:

It is a very easy program to use.  

Step 1:  Select the kind of puzzle you want to make.
There are many different shapes that you can use.  The one you choose will depend on how many pairs of words or phrases you want to practise.  You can have blank edges to make it easier for students or you can have edges with red herrings to really test the learners (these are "extended jigsaws")

Step 2:  Type in the words or phrases together with their translations in the other language or, instead, a picture.

Step 3:  When you've typed in all your pairs of words or phrases, click "Output" on the bar at the bottom, and Tarsia will generate your puzzle.  

Tarsia files have their own peculiar file suffix which is incompatible with other programs.  If you want to share your creation with others, I recommend PDF-ing your puzzle.  I use CutePDF.  To make a PDF of your document, you click as though to print it and then select CutePDF from the list of printers.  Then you get a dialogue box which allows you to save your PDF document.

Tarsia activities tick many boxes.  They are ideal for pair and group work and really make students think.  You can use them to revise previously-learned language or to introduce new language or patterns.

The all-important links:

Download Tarsia (Formulator Tarsia) from here or here.
Information about Tarsia here.
Lots of examples of Spanish Tarsia puzzles for KS3 and KS4 here.  Many thanks to the wonderful Marie Connolly.

1 comment:

  1. Was searching for a way to print my Tarsia output and your CutePDF technique seems like a winner. Thanks for sharing!