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Looking for a fun Valentine’s Day math puzzle? This pentominoes heart puzzle is sure to provide a fun and engaging Valentine’s puzzle experience. Can you create the given heart shape using a standard set of twelve pentomino pieces?
Heart Puzzle Instructions
The goal of this pentominoes heart puzzle is to construct the shape of a heart using a standard set of twelve pentominoes. The pentominoes may be flipped or rotated, but they are not allowed to overlap one another.
I ran across this heart shape made from pentominoes on ludomatica’s Instagram page. I knew that I had to turn it into a printable pentominoes puzzle for Valentine’s Day!
Printing and Prepping the Pentominoes Puzzles
This heart-shaped pentominoes puzzle is designed to print on 11 x 17 inch paper. I print all of my pentominoes puzzles on 11 x 17 cardstock for extra durability, but regular 11 x 17 copy paper will work just fine as well. (If you don’t have the ability to print on 11 x 17 paper, keep reading for an alternative printing option!)
All of my pentominoes puzzles are sized for plastic pentominoes made up of 1-inch squares.
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.
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!
Want each student to have their own set of pentominoes? I also offer a set of free printable one-inch pentominoes pieces which can be laminated or printed on cardstock for durability.
Since many teachers have told me that they do not have access to a copy machine or printer which prints on 11 x 17 paper, I have also uploaded a letter-sized version below which prints on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. You will have to trim and tape or glue the two letter-sized pages together to form the pentominoes puzzle board.
Hints for Solving the Pentominoes Heart Puzzle
This pentominoes puzzle is quite the tricky one! I have heard from numerous teachers that they have had students who have worked on this puzzle for over an hour without solving it.
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.
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.
Suggestions for Working with Younger Students
Pentominoes puzzles which use a full standard set of twelve pentominoes can be very tricky for younger students. This Cover the Heart puzzle has less pieces and can be solved in substantially less time, so I recommend it for younger students or for teachers who want to present a puzzle to students in a reduced time frame.
If you want to modify this pentominoes heart puzzle to make it easier, you can always give students a hint by telling them the specific location of certain pentomino pieces in the puzzle grid. You can find hint cards in the downloads below.
Another suggested heart-themed puzzle would be the heart tangram puzzle.
Free Download of Pentominoes Heart 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.
11 x 17 Inch Paper (I recommend printing on 11 x 17 cardstock!)
Pentominoes Heart Puzzle 11 x 17 (PDF) (938 downloads)
Pentominoes Heart Puzzle (Editable Publisher Files ZIP) (278 downloads)
8.5 x 11 Inch Paper (Letter Sized Paper)
Pentominoes Heart Puzzle 8.5 x 11 (PDF) (660 downloads)
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 Activities for Valentine’s Day
- Math Valentine Conversation Hearts Posters
- Math Valentine Square Puzzle
- Pentominoes Heart Puzzle
- Printable Heart Tangram Puzzle
- Valentine’s Jamboard Activity
- Cover the Heart Puzzle
- Conversation Hearts Lab for Valentine’s Day
- Valentine’s Teacher Appreciation Project
- Laffy Taffy Math Valentines
- Parallel Lines Math Valentines with Pixy Stix
- Valentine’s Day Mobius Strip Activity