These books were my first publications, back in the 1980's. They remained in print for decades. A new edition of a companion book (Pentomino Lessons) was published by Didax in 2013 under the title Working with Pentominoes. That book makes the curricular connections explicit, and works well as a complement to the three puzzle books available here.
- Pentomino Activities
- 84 puzzles. Each consists of two or more figures that must be covered simultaneously with pentominoes from one set.
- Pentomino Cards
- 48 puzzles, including scaled pentominoes, stairs, rectangles, and others.
- Pentomino Puzzles
- 83 puzzles, including some with zigzag edges, some with holes, and others.
Mathematicians and computer programmers are mostly interested in puzzles that use all twelve pentominoes. The key insight in these collections is that to bring pentomino puzzles to a broad audience of children and adults, it is necessary to include puzzles that use fewer pieces. Those are easier, and help prepare the solver for tougher challenges.
All three collections include puzzles ranging from very accessible to extremely difficult. This makes them suitable for just about any group of students or adults. Each collection includes a checklist of its puzzles, which allows a student to monitor their progress and to set goals. The puzzles are organized in sets. Typically, each set starts with easier puzzles, so that students who are getting frustrated when working on one set can switch to the beginning puzzles of another set.
You may encourage students to record their solutions by tracing them, by copying them on grid paper, or by photographing them. This could lead to a bulletin board or online display, involving the whole class, or the whole school. In particular, it is interesting to keep track of puzzles that have multiple solutions.
Important: When printing and photocopying the puzzles, make sure that the figures' side lengths are whole numbers of inches, so that the pentominoes fit snuggly in the solved puzzle.