# 2024 Pentomino Puzzle

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The 2024 Pentomino Puzzle puts a fun twist on a classic pentominoes puzzle by having holes in some of the pieces. Can you build a 5×6 rectangle using pentominoes pieces so that the year 2024 is still visible?

I promise I wasn’t planning on making another 2024-themed puzzle to help celebrate New Years in math class, but I got super excited when I ran across a puzzle involving tetrominoes with holes in them just before Christmas break.

I thought to myself that I could take inspiration from this idea and add some holes to pentominoes. I was probably inspired by the fact that I was also working on finding solutions to the 2024 Number Challenge around the same time as this. And, that’s how this 2024 Pentomino Puzzle was born.

Looking for more 2024 fun? I also recommend checking out the 2024 Puzzle. Over 5000 teachers downloaded the 2023 Puzzle, so I’m sure this year’s new puzzle will be a hit as well.

## Puzzle Instructions

Arrange six of the twelve provided pentomino pieces to completely cover the rectangular grid. Four of the pieces will contain holes. These holes must be placed to reveal the number 2024 at the center of the grid. Pieces may be rotated or flipped, but the pieces may not overlap one another. Six pieces will not be used.

## Puzzle Pieces

This puzzle uses a standard set of twelve pentominoes pieces with a single hole cut in eight of the pieces. The solved puzzle will use four pentominoes pieces with holes in them and two standard pentominoes pieces.

I used my Cricut Maker 3 machine to cut the pieces out of Astrobrights cardstock and punch the holes out of the pieces.

Cricut used to have an easy way to share their Design Space files with others, but unfortunately I cannot share the file I created with you because Cricut has changed their terms of use. No files including uploaded images can be shared, and I uploaded the images of the pentominoes pieces into Design Space. Ugh.

You can still cut out the pieces on your own cutting machine, but it will require a bit more work since you will have to remove the background from each image/hole and resize the pieces so they print on properly. Each pentomino piece should be made up of 1 inch squares.

Don’t have a cutting machine? You can still print the pieces on cardstock and cut out the circles by hand. Take a single hole punch and punch a hole onto the circle you are trying to remove. Then, you can continue to use the hole punch to punch out the rest of the circle or you can use scissors to cut out the rest of the circle.

## Ideas for Using the Puzzle in the Classroom

I will be putting this 2024 Pentomino Puzzle out as my puzzle of the week during our first week back which is actually just two days with students alongside the 2024 Puzzle I shared earlier.

Fun Fact: My “Puzzle of the Week” has really turned into “Puzzles of the Week” because so many of my students have become eager puzzle solvers. They get very sad when they solve all of the puzzles early in the week and don’t have anything to challenge them for the rest of the week.

I don’t dedicate any class time to these puzzles of the week. I just hang the puzzles on my dry erase board. Students grab the puzzles off the board as they come into the classroom and take them to their tables to work on. Groups often see other groups working on puzzles which inspires them to give that puzzle a try the next day.

Students are puzzling before class, between classes, and in odd moments in class like the daily announcements. Some students also work on puzzles if they finish early and don’t have other work to work on.

## Modifying the Puzzle for Younger Students

I created this puzzle with secondary students in mind since I personally work with juniors and seniors in my high school math classes.

If you are working with much younger students, you can modify this puzzle by removing some of the pentominoes pieces that are not in the solution. As the puzzle is written, 6 pieces will be in the solution and 6 pieces will be unused.

To make the puzzle VERY easy, only give your students the six pieces needed to solve the puzzle. My husband was able to solve this version of the puzzle in around 30 seconds, so I would suggest including at least one or two distractor pieces to make the puzzle a bit more fun and challenging. My four year old, on the other hand, spent 5 minutes on the easier version before giving up.

## Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not make answers to the printable math puzzles I share on my blog available online because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are non-google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.

However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.

If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at sarah@mathequalslove.net with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.