Skip to Content

Masyu Puzzles

I tried out some Masyu puzzles the other day with a group of students.  These are a new-to-me puzzle that I learned about from Jeffrey Wanko.

Usually, I’m drawn to logic puzzles involving numbers.  (I’ve posted about KenKen, Futoshiki, Hashi, Shikaku, and Paint by Number puzzles before.)  But, these have no numbers involved.  Actually, there are no words or numbers involved.  Here’s how Dr. Wanko describes them:  

Masyu puzzles are unique in that they do not have any numbers or letters in them–they are truly language-independent.

Your goal in a Masyu puzzle is relatively simple–to make a single closed loop or path that passes through all of the squares with circles (the white and black “pearls”) and that goes through the center of the squares horizontally and/or vertically.

Dr. Jeffrey Wanko

I found a packet he had created online that walked students step-by-step through discovering the rules of the game on their own.

Here are two Masyu Puzzles and their solutions.

Masyu Puzzles

I showed this to my students, and they derived some of the rules on their own.  But, I had to show them the actual rules before we could attempt to play:

Masyu Puzzles

I’m not going to lie.  A bunch of my kids got confused with these masyu puzzles and gave up.  But, a few stuck it out with me.  They persevered and eventually figured a few masyu puzzles out!  

I also found these puzzles super challenging at first.  It took me quite a while to come up with a solution strategy.  I think this is a good thing, though.  

I need to be reminded on a daily basis how it feels to struggle with learning something because that’s how students feel every day in my classroom.


Sunday 11th of October 2015

Wow!! Never heard of this game before, but I'm going to check it out. Maybe implement them on a few staff development sessions as the warm-up/ice-breaker!!

Great post!!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Monday 12th of October 2015

This would be fun to do with staff!

Comments are closed.