I was super excited today to share a new penguin pentominoes puzzle with my students as this week’s puzzle of the week. Can you arrange a set of twelve pentominoes to form the shape of a penguin?
Several students attempted to solve this penguin puzzle over the course of the day, but so far none of my students have been successful. I guess this is a tricky one!
I typically just post my puzzles of the week on the dry erase board and let students attempt to solve them on their own. I don’t direct their attention to the puzzles or require students to participate.
Some students love the puzzles. Others ignore them. I find that when one student in a class gets interested in a puzzle that their excitement is contagious.
The goal of this pentominoes penguin puzzle is to construct the shape of a penguin using a standard set of twelve pentominoes. The pentominoes may be flipped or rotated, but they are not allowed to overlap one another.
Printing and Prepping the Pentominoes Puzzles
I printed this penguin puzzle on 11 x 17 paper since the pentominoes I have in my classroom are made up of 1-inch squares. I wanted my students to be able to lay the pentominoes pieces directly over the penguin outline.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
Amazon offers several brands of plastic pentominoes which I recommend. Each brand is sold in a tub containing six sets of twelve pentominoes each for a total of 72 pentomino pieces.
- Learning Resources Rainbow Pentominoes
- Learning Advantage Pentominoes
- Didax Colorful Pentominoes – CURRENTLY THE CHEAPEST!
If you don’t have a class set of plastic pentominoes, I do have a printable version of 1-inch pentominoes available to download and print. Please be aware that you MUST allow students to turn over the printed pentominoes pieces in order to solve the puzzle! This is less obvious than with the plastic pentominoes pieces.
I placed each set of pentominoes in a magnetic pocket below the puzzle on the dry erase board. I like this method of displaying the puzzles because students are able to easily grab the pocket of pentominoes and take them back to their desks.
I ran across this penguin shaped pentominoes puzzle in Jon Millington’s Pentominoes: Puzzle shapes to make you think which was published by Tarquin in 1987. It was listed as part of a Pentazoo puzzle challenge.
There were several other animal outlines, but they were too large to fit on my 11 x 17 cardstock. I need to come up with a way to accommodate larger sized puzzles.
I was able to check out a copy of this book virtually from the Internet Archive’s Free Online Lending Library. You will need to make a free account to access the book.
More Animal Pentominoes Puzzles
I decided the penguin puzzle would make a perfect winter-themed pentominoes puzzle. My students were growing tired of the 13 Free Printable Pentominoes Puzzles I shared earlier, so it was time to try something new.
You might have noticed that I used the same Pentominoes Challenges Poster I created to hang above the puzzles since these are just a different sort of pentominoes challenge.
Hints for Solving the Pentominoes Penguin Puzzle
Pentominoes puzzles which use an entire set of twelve standard pentominoes can be quite tricky to solve.
While some students can handle this level of perseverance, other students might benefit from a few hints in solving the puzzle. I have created a set of 4 printable hint cards that can be used with students to give them (or yourself!) a small piece of the solution.
These hint cards can be downloaded at the end of this blog post.
There are several ways you can use these printable hint cards in your classroom.
If you are having students work on the puzzle as a full-class activity, you can make the pentomino puzzle hint cards available after students have worked for a certain amount of time.
If you are using the pentominoes puzzles as an early finisher activity or as a puzzle of the week for students to work on in their spare time, you could post the puzzle without any hints on day 1. On each subsequent day, you could add a different hint card.
I look forward to seeing what other ways that teachers come up with to make these hint cards work for their students.
Free Download of Penguin Pentominoes Puzzle
This file is specifically designed to be used with plastic pentominoes composed of one-inch squares. For the pentominoes to fit perfectly on the grid, this file must be printed at 100% Scale or “Actual Size.” If your printer defaults to “Fit” or “Shrink oversized pages,” the pentominoes will not fit properly on the grid which can cause great frustration when trying to solve the puzzle.
If you do not have access to a set of plastic pentominoes, you can also print a set of one inch pentominoes on cardstock.
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.
More Pentominoes Puzzles
- Goose Pentominoes Puzzle
- Pentomino Calendar Puzzle
- Butterfly Pentominoes Puzzle
- Pentomino Frog Puzzle
- Pentominoes Pi Symbol Puzzle
- Pentominoes Heart Puzzle
- Printable One Inch Pentominoes
- Reindeer Pentominoes Puzzle
- Pentominoes Christmas Tree Puzzle
- Pentominoes Pig Puzzle
- Pentominoes Jack-o’-lantern Halloween Puzzle
- Elephant Pentominoes Puzzle
- Terrier Pentominoes Puzzle
- Penguin Pentominoes Puzzle
- 13 Free Printable Pentominoes Puzzle Challenges
- Star Pentominoes Puzzle
- Color Rectangle Puzzle
- Pentasquares Puzzle
- Three Immovable Pentablocks