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Star Pentominoes Puzzle

This star pentominoes puzzle takes the classic rectangular pentominoes puzzle up a notch with adding a requirement that each pentomino must cover exactly one star.

star pentominoes puzzle

I had my first experience with pentominoes puzzles in second grade. My teacher, Mrs. Green, loved pentominoes. One of the activities we worked on frequently in our free time was the standard rectangular pentominoes puzzle.

Mrs. Green had a binder full of solutions and anytime you solved the rectangular pentominoes puzzle, she would pull out her binder to see if we had discovered a new solution that she could add to her binder. If we did, it was a great honor, and we would get a piece of candy to celebrate.

Star Pentominoes Puzzle

Star Pentominoes Instructions

The classic pentominoes challenge is to use a standard set of 12 pentominoes to build a 5×12 rectangle.

This puzzle adds the condition that each pentomino must cover exactly one of the stars printed on the puzzle grid. This is harder than it might seem at first!

Star Pentominoes Puzzle

There are 1,010 ways to form a 5×12 rectangle with a set of pentominoes. There is only one solution to the star pentominoes puzzle!

Puzzle Source

I found this star pentominoes puzzle in Totally Tough Brainteasers by L.P. Mochalov. I’m really enjoying the puzzles by this puzzle author, and I have several more puzzles by Mochalov that I will be sharing soon that I have adapted for my classroom.

Recently, I shared the Three Squared Puzzle by the same author!

Printing and Preparing the Puzzle

11 x 17 Version

I printed the puzzle on 11 x 17 cardstock. I sized everything to fit pentominoes made of one-inch squares since that is the size of the plastic pentominoes I have in my classroom.


plastic one inch pentominoes in bucket

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.

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.

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.

Star Pentominoes Puzzle

8.5 x 11 Version

If you do not have access to the ability to print on 11×17 sized paper, I have also uploaded a letter-sized version of this puzzle which also is sized for use with plastic pentominoes made up of 1-inch squares. Remember, I also offer a free downloadable set of pentominoes puzzle pieces.

Star Pentominoes Puzzle

The puzzle board will print on two letter-sized sheets of paper which you will have to trim and tape or glue the two pages of the puzzle together.

Puzzle Hints

The stars add a fun twist to the puzzle. I really enjoyed trying to figure out what piece I could use in the bottom left-hand corner of the puzzle that would only cover one star.

Star Pentominoes Puzzle

If your students are struggling to solve this puzzle, I have created some hint cards which could be given to students to give them the location of one of the twelve pentomino pieces.

Sometimes, a single piece is all students need to be able to logically solve the rest of the puzzle!

hint cards for star pentominoes puzzle

Using the Puzzle in Class

I’ve had this puzzle out for several weeks in my classroom, and several students have managed to solve it. One thing that I have really enjoyed about this puzzle is that students tend to work on it in pairs which leads to some awesome conversations to listen in on!

Star Pentominoes Puzzle

This puzzle definitely requires some serious logical thinking due to the requirement that each pentomino cover a single square.

If you are working with younger students or are just looking for puzzles which are easier to solve, I recommend checking out my post with free printable pentominoes puzzle challenges instead.

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.


Friday 21st of January 2022

I’m using the pentominoes from the PDF you linked above. Can you flip the pieces to the other side if you want (the side without the black outline)? Thank you!

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 16th of February 2022

The pieces can be flipped over!

Rosario Mollo

Monday 8th of November 2021

These are great! There is a game called katamino that my students love to play that is similar to this. It really gets the brain going and it great to get objects in their hands!

Sarah Carter

Monday 8th of November 2021

I love Katamino!

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