Everyone knows how to play tic-tac-toe. But can you solve the tic tac toe challenge puzzle? This fun brain teaser is simple to explain, but it can be hard to solve!
Setting up the Tic Tac Toe Puzzle
While normal tic-tac-toe (or noughts and crosses) uses X’s and O’s, this tic tac toe puzzle only requires the standard grid and six X’s.
While you can draw the grid on paper and try to solve the puzzle that way, I find the puzzle is much easier to solve with physical paper pieces to manipulate and move around during the puzzle solving process.
I originally typed up this tic tac toe challenge puzzle with the intention of using it on my puzzle table with laminated x pieces for students to place on the tic tac toe grid.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
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!
Don’t want to print the puzzle? I also created digital versions of the puzzle while teaching during the pandemic that are linked later in the post.
Tic Tac Toe Challenge Instructions
Place six X’s on a standard tic-tac-toe board without making three-in-a-row in any direction.
I really like that the instructions and set-up for this tic tac toe brain teaser are so simple that you can issue the challenge to someone at a moment’s notice.
Will your friends be able to solve this tic tac toe riddle?
Jumbo Magnetic Version of Tic Tac Toe Challenge
I decided this would make a great magnetic puzzle for my dry erase board if I made the pieces JUMBO sized. I was right! Students loved it. Some students even tried using it to play regular games of tic tac toe by having one student use a dry erase marker to draw the O’s.
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.
Free Download of Tic Tac Toe Challenge
Letter Sized Printable Version of Tic Tac Toe Puzzle
Jumbo Version of Tic Tac Toe Puzzle