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This equilateral triangle puzzle comes from Puzzle Box, Volume 1 from Dover Publications. This is the first book in a series of three puzzle books that are edited by the Peter and Serhiy Grabarchuk. This specific puzzle is by Richard Candy.
Each volume has 300 puzzles, and I have found over a hundred puzzles between the three volumes that I would like to adapt to use in my classroom some day. If you love puzzles or if you are looking for resources to teach your students to reason logically, Puzzle Box, Volumes 1-3 are the books for you!
You can get a great taste of what types of puzzles they have to offer you and your students by looking at the free Amazon Preview of Puzzle Box, Volume 1! Just click the “Look Inside” button for each book. If you’re logged into Amazon, you can click “Surprise Me!” on the left side of the page. This will let you see quite a few of the puzzles inside the book for free. I typed up my first Puzzle Box puzzle from the free preview. Then, I did some more looking around and knew I had to order it!
This school year has been CRAZY. Crazy busy. Crazy exhausting. Crazy good. Crazy, crazy, crazy. The other day, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I had to get done. But, at the same time, I just needed to take a bit of a break. My students leave at 3:05, but our contract time doesn’t end until 3:30. So, one day with 25 minutes to fill, I decided to tackle one of the puzzles I had typed up this summer for my puzzle table, the equilateral triangle puzzle.
So, how does the equilateral triangle puzzle work?
You are given six quadrilaterals. These are printed on three different colors of paper. You must arrange the six pieces to form a plain equilateral triangle. Pieces of the same color are not allowed to touch each other, not even at a corner. Pieces can be rotated but not overlapped.
As I started trying to solve the equilateral triangle puzzle, I went through several thought processes.
How in the world is this going to make an equilateral triangle?
Hmmm…let me try this.
Nope. This is impossible. There is no way these pieces could make a triangle.
Maybe I made a mistake when I created the pieces in Microsoft Publisher.
Wait…what if I try this?
Oooh…I’m so close. Maybe this is possible.
What happens if I move this here and another piece there and… I got it!
This was fun!
Now, I can’t wait to try this with my students! My students are currently working through a collection of puzzles on their “Puzzle Passports,” so I will have to wait a bit to put this out. Or, maybe I should add magnets to the pieces and stick it up on the dry erase board to see what students do with it…
Update: I did add disc magnets to the back of each puzzle piece. They worked perfectly!
Also, Duane Habecker shares several ideas for scaffolding this puzzle with students and creating multiple levels of success!
Free Download of Equilateral Triangle Puzzle
Equilateral Triangle Puzzle (PDF) (2057 downloads)
Equilateral Triangle Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (588 downloads)
Want more puzzles for your classroom? I suggest checking out my dedicated puzzle page.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.
Thursday 8th of November 2018
Is everything ok???
Thursday 1st of November 2018
Seriously- worried about you.
Monday 29th of October 2018
You still there?
Friday 28th of September 2018
my sister loves puzzles so much. she is 7 years old and she can make 1000-2000 pieces puzzles. even i cant do that. but i want to buy her different, interesting puzzles. where can i find them?
Wednesday 26th of September 2018
Great puzzle, thanks for the file, I'm going to try it with my kids! I always kept a bin of puzzle books for my high school math/science students to use when they had a spare few minutes, they are a great way to encourage cognitive flexibility. I like the idea of using magnets to put the pieces on the white board, then students can work together on the puzzle when coming in and out of the classroom. Or, even put the pieces on a table outside the classroom during conference time and let parents try it themselves to get a sense of what their students are able to accomplish!