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Pentomino Puzzle Books


for your non-commercial use

Henri Picciotto

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.

activities cover cards cover puzzles cover

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.

Teacher's Guide

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.

Laser cutter file: If you have access to a laser cutter, you can make your own pentominoes. (The file was created by Eben LaPier.) The advantage of laser-cut pentominoes over the commercially available ones is that the pieces are not subdivided into squares. Thus, when you've solved a puzzle, you can see what you did. With the commercially available pentominoes, all you see is in a solved puzzle is its subdivision into squares, which is useless.