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Three Squared Puzzle

Last week, I used this Three Squared Puzzle with my students as one of our puzzles of the week. I thought I should share it with everyone here on the blog as well!

three squared puzzle

How does the Three Squared Puzzle work? You are given nine squares. Your task is to arrange the nine squares to assemble one large square with exactly three different pictures on each horizontal and vertical line, and on both long diagonals.

Three Squared Puzzle

I ran across this 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.

Three Squared Puzzle

I printed the nine squares on separate sheets of paper. I laminated them and added ceramic disc magnets to the back of each piece so that students could move them around while solving the puzzle.


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!

I also created a smaller version of the three squared puzzle that prints on a single page so that students can work on the puzzle individually.

Three Squared Puzzle

My students played with the puzzle on and off all week, but I don’t think a single one of my students managed to figure it out. I guess it’s a harder puzzle than it looks!

Three Squared 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.


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

What is the answer

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 16th of February 2022

I can only share puzzle solutions with teachers. If you are a teacher, please send me information about where you teach so I can share the solution with you!


Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Thank you for sharing this great activity.


Sunday 14th of November 2021

Thank you so much for sharing! I am a new 5th grade teacher and I do a math puzzle a week. I love this idea but I don't know that I understand the directions completely. Each 3x3 square looks different already so how do you create the larger one with different pictures?? Am I missing something?

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

You put the small squares together to make a large 3 x 3 square. In total, it will actually be 9 small squares x 9 small squares. I just emailed you with a few more details!

Matt Skoss

Sunday 14th of November 2021

Velcro dots on the back works well for carpeted walls too! Just there more than one solution? Nice linkage to Sudoku puzzles and Latin Squares. Regards, Matt.

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Great idea about the carpeted walls, Matt!

I believe there is only one solution, but I have not verified that myself.