The Broken Rooms


Geoff Moore and Lisa Castaneda

Grade Level

Common Core Standards Met

  1. Understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software.
  2. Verify experimentally the properties of rotations, reflections, and translations.
  3. Understand that a two-dimensional figure is congruent to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, and translations; given two congruent figures, describe a sequence that exhibits the congruence between them.
  4. Describe the effect of dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections on two-dimensional figures using coordinates.
  5. Understand that a two-dimensional figure is similar to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, translations, and dilations; given two similar two-dimensional figures, describe a sequence that exhibits the similarity between them.

Grade 8 Mathematical Practices Addressed in this Lesson:>

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Attend to precision.
  5. Look for and make use of structure.

*Note: If students were to collect data on time spent within each room, number of moves needed to “fix” the room etc., several of the standards for data and statistics for 7th and 8th grade could be met as well.*

Time Needed
Several class periods to construct the rooms, solve the inherent problem in each room and then create their own broken level.

Overarching Question and Objective(s)

  • What if the actual structure of a room was faulty and therefore made the room unsolvable?
  • Could we find and fix inherent design problems in the game to make the test chamber playable?

This lesson looks at the game from an entirely different perspective. In this case, students are not trying to “pass” a given test chamber. They are given a test chamber that is flawed in its design. Their goal is to “fix” the chamber, within the editor (Puzzle Maker) given a specific set of constraints in order to make it playable. First, students must use geometric reasoning skills to reconstruct the rooms from screenshots given by their instructor using ideas of congruence, transformations and rotations. Then, when the room has been properly re-constructed in the editor, they are given specific directions for what can and what cannot be changed within the editing platform. Their goal is to (a) figure out what makes the room unplayable (b) come up with ways to fix it within the limits proscribed and (c) make the appropriate changes and defend their reasoning.


  • Students should be familiar with the concepts of congruence
  • Reflection
  • Rotation
  • Similarity
  • Transformation
  • Dilation
  • The names of the tools given in the asset panel in the Puzzle Maker

Teacher Materials Needed
The teacher will need screenshots of broken rooms (several rooms are already provided with this lesson, of course, teachers are encouraged to create their own as well!), preferably a projected version of the software so the entire class can look at a similar room together, and a copy of the attached worksheet for students to work off of.

Student Materials Needed

  • The Puzzle Maker
  • Student copies of the screenshots
  • Student copies of the worksheet
  • Similarity

Lesson Plan
Download The Broken Rooms