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Loops Puzzle

The Loops Puzzle is a fun edge-matching puzzle which involves arranging the pieces to make a square containing closed loops. This puzzle is actually three different puzzles in one!

partially solved loops puzzle.


Arrange the nine pieces in a 3×3 square to form designs with the following number of closed loops: one closed loop, two closed loops, and three closed loops.

loops puzzle board with instructions.
loops puzzle pieces.

Puzzle Source

This was the very first puzzle that jumped out to me when I started browsing the collection of 199 different mathematical puzzles offered as a free download from IREM de Lyon. This is a top-notch puzzle resource if you speak French.

I sadly do not speak French, but I was able to use the Google Translate app to translate quite a few of the puzzle instructions in order to use them in my classroom. Other puzzles I typed up from this same resource is the U Sums Puzzle, Magic H Puzzle, Lines of 3 Puzzle, 4 x 4 Checkered Square Puzzle, and Equal Sums Puzzle.

This specific puzzle is #17 – Boucles.

Printing and Prepping the Puzzle

I printed the instruction page on plain copy paper and ran it through the laminator for extra-durability.

printed pages for loops puzzle.

I suggest you print the puzzle pieces on colorful copy paper such as Astrobrights. I also laminated these pages before cutting out the individual squares.

If you would prefer to have students working in groups, I resized the puzzle pieces to be slightly larger. Note: This means that students will need to solve the puzzle on their desks or on the floor. The larger sized pieces do not fit on the boxes pre-printed on the instructions page.

larger puzzle pieces for loops puzzle.

This version also works super well if you want to have students explore what they can do with the pieces before ever posing the puzzle’s instructions.

Using the Puzzle in the Classroom

I used this puzzle as one of my Puzzles of the Week in my high school classroom.

puzzle of the week poster with loops puzzle in magnetic pocket.

I hung it on the dry erase board in a magnetic pocket from Charles Leonard, and students took turns grabbing a copy of the puzzle and taking it back to their table to solve whenever they had downtime before class started or after they finished their assignment for the day.

close-up of loops puzzle.

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 with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.

More Edge Matching Puzzles