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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.
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 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Free Download of Star 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.
11 x 17 Version
Star Pentominoes Puzzle – 11 x 17 (PDF and Editable Publisher File ZIP) (3260 downloads)
Letter Sized Version
Star Pentominoes Puzzle – Letter Sized Version (PDF) (134 downloads)
Star Pentominoes Hint Cards (PDF) (104 downloads)
Star Pentominoes Hint Cards (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (48 downloads)
Want even more puzzles? Are you obsessed as I am? Check out my puzzles page!
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
- 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
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!
Wednesday 16th of February 2022
The pieces can be flipped over!
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!
Monday 8th of November 2021
I love Katamino!