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Pair Ups Puzzle

I want to share with you a Pair Ups Puzzle today.

I recently ran across an excellent book of puzzles called Test Your Math IQ by Steve Ryan. It’s out of print, but I was able to borrow it through the Internet Archive’s free online library which is my favorite way to find and look at new puzzle books.

I don’t have enough space in my house or money in my bank account to purchase all the amazing puzzle books that are out there in the world, so I enjoy being able to check out a puzzle book for an hour in order to “harvest” the puzzles I think I can use in my classroom.

Test Your Math IQ by Steve Ryan Book Cover

I was a bit sad when I discovered the book, to be honest, because the puzzles that most spoke to me were the exact type of puzzles I can’t currently do with my students due to the current COVID-19 precautions we are taking.

In a moment of craziness, I decided to type up the puzzle anyway. Life has to return to normal so I can use these types of puzzles in my classroom someday, right?

I do know that COVID restrictions vary greatly over different geographic areas, so it is my hope in sharing this puzzle that someone somewhere might be able to use it with their students.

I’ve also been amazed at the number of amazing digital adaptions of the paper based puzzles I’ve created for my own classroom.

So without further ado, here is the Pair Ups Puzzle by Steve Ryan.

The puzzler is provided with six shapes which must be paired up to form three pieces of equal size and shape. I printed the six shapes on colored paper and laminated them.


drawing of laminator machine with text "laminating recommendations"

A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.

I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!

When I can once again post a puzzle of the week for students to physically manipulate as they solve it, I will add disc magnets to the back of each puzzle piece. I must be feeling optimistic about future puzzling because I just splurged and bought 200 magnets from Amazon.

Pair Ups Puzzle

Want to download the files for this pair ups puzzle to try yourself or use with your students? Now that I have shifted this blog to my own domain, I’m hoping to be able to make downloads much easier to find.

Update – I was finally able to use this puzzle with my students in May of 2021. I put disc magnets on the back of each piece and hung it on my dry erase board.

Pair Ups Puzzle Hanging on Dry Erase Board with Magnets.

Free Download of Pair Ups Puzzle

Pair Ups Puzzle (PDF) (2675 downloads )

Pair Ups Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (971 downloads )

Want more puzzles for your classroom? Check out my dedicated puzzles page!

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.


Thursday 20th of January 2022

I use your puzzles all the time. We can not figure this one out!


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

We love your puzzles! I've had this puzzle up for a week and haven't found the solution (neither have my kiddos). Any hints? Thanks!

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

This is a tricky one. I had only one student solve it a few weeks ago when I had it out. Check your email for the solution!

Taylor Cain

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Ah! My students and I have not been able to solve this.


Thursday 16th of September 2021

Do you have the answer key?

Sarah Carter

Thursday 16th of September 2021

Sent you an email, Aron!

Hilary Sheehan Carlson

Sunday 8th of November 2020

Can you make a digitized version?

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