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The Egg of Columbus Puzzle

Engage your students with this tangram-inspired Egg of Columbus Puzzle! Discover a fun and challenging way to enhance problem-solving skills in your math classroom.

For the 4th grade class my husband and I teach at church on Wednesday nights, we were tasked with coming up with an Easter craft or activity. I’m not the type to break out paint or glitter in these situations because I hate the clean-up and chaos of the entire experience.

Earlier this year, I ran across a new-to-me tangram style puzzle called the “Egg of Columbus.” I decided this would be perfect to try out with our group of 4th graders!

I used the snipping tool to grab the egg image and printed them two to a page on different colors of paper.

Egg of Columbus Puzzle

Next, I spent some quality time with the laminator. I figured that 4th graders might be a bit rough on these pieces. Plus, I wanted them to be able to take their puzzles home with them to keep.


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!

My next step of preparation involved making a “poof book” for the students to assemble that included different challenges that they could complete with their egg pieces. The cover of the poof book included the solution to the egg puzzle.

Egg of Columbus Puzzle

This book is assembled from just a single sheet of letter sized paper. If you’re not sure how to fold/assemble a poof book, check out this blog post for step-by-step directions.

Egg of Columbus Puzzle
Inside of Egg of Columbus Puzzle Book.
Egg of Columbus Puzzle
Egg of Columbus Puzzle

Our students’ first task was to cut out their Egg of Columbus pieces.

Next, we challenged them to reassemble the pieces into the egg shape. This turned out to be much harder for them than I anticipated. Numerous students made comments along the lines of “This is impossible!” I reminded them that the pieces had been in the form of an egg before they cut them out!

Egg of Columbus Puzzle

Next, I blew their minds with the assembly of the poof book. After assembling their book of challenges, each student picked a picture of their choosing to try and make with their pieces.

Egg of Columbus Puzzle
Egg of Columbus Puzzle
Egg of Columbus Puzzle

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.