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Matador Dominoes Puzzle

Yesterday, I posted a sneak peek photo on twitter of the matador dominoes puzzle I’ve been working on for my classroom. It was very interesting to read people’s theories about what the puzzle might entail.

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

This is the Matador Dominoes Puzzle. I ran across this puzzle while searching the Internet for the instructions to a brain teaser puzzle since I seem to have misplaced them in my multitude of recent classroom moves.

It is featured on Rob’s Puzzle Page of Pattern Puzzles. This page is seriously full of so many awesome puzzles.

This puzzle really caught my eye because it would be relatively easy to recreate for my classroom, unlike most illustration based edge matching puzzles. 

I haven’t had a puzzle up on my dry erase board since we came back from Christmas Break, so I decided to make my own large, magnetic version of this puzzle for my students to tackle.

I recreated each square of the puzzle as a 7.5″ square in Microsoft Word using domino clipart from ClipArt ETC. I used the small version of each clipart image which resulted in the domino spots being the slightest bit pixelated in my file.

In retrospect, I should have used the higher res clipart images. It hasn’t bothered me enough to recreate the entire file, though.

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

The aim of the matador dominoes puzzle is to put the six pieces together in such a way that you get the seven double dominoes from double-blank to double-six.

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

After laminating each piece and attaching a disc magnet to the back, I put them on my dry erase board and waited impatiently for a student to notice. 2nd hour came and went. No one noticed.

3rd hour came and went. 4th hour came and went. Still, not a single student had noticed the puzzle on the board.

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

5th hour rolled around, and as students began entering the classroom. I soon heard a student exclaim, “There’s a new puzzle on the wall. I’m going to try it!”

Multiple students were quickly gathered at the board. They read the instructions aloud and jumped in. 

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

In under a minute or two, the students exclaimed that the puzzle had been solved. I glanced up at their work and was about to congratulate them when I realized that their solution was actually NOT the solution.

They had matched up each of the edges, but they had not formed all seven of the double dominoes. Their solution had formed the double four domino twice and had neglected to form the double one domino. Frustrated, they went back to work. 

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

The puzzle remains unsolved. It looked like this when I left for the day. 

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

I realize that not everyone will have ample space in their classroom for this jumbo version of the matador dominoes puzzle. So, I also resized the cards to make a smaller set that prints 1 set per letter sized page and fits in a snack sized sandwich bag.

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

This would be the perfect size if you wanted to work the matador dominoes puzzle yourself or have each student work the puzzle individually at their own desks. 

Matador Dominoes Puzzle

Update 5/31/2021

It’s really been bothering me that the instructions to this puzzle are formatted differently than the instructions to so many of the other puzzles I have posted. So I have created a new set of instructions if you are looking for a more uniform appearance to my other puzzles.

matador dominoes puzzle

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not share solutions to the puzzles I feature on my website because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are not 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.


Saturday 6th of November 2021

I solved this one and it was fun to do, thank you for sharing!


Saturday 19th of January 2019

Sarah, You are amazing! I LOVE all of the awesome puzzles that you re-create and create yourself. We are loving them in my district. I have a question about the Rob's Puzzle Page website that you have referred to in this post. Are the puzzles that he shares on his website just for our "viewing pleasure" or is it possible to actually download them? Thanks again! Karen G.