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Tricky Triangles Puzzle

This tricky triangles puzzle has been around for over a century – can you arrange these eight sticks to form exactly four triangles and two squares?

Tricky Triangles Puzzle

The original puzzle was meant to be solved with matchsticks, but I don’t think I need to explain why I won’t be giving my students matchsticks to play with… Instead, I cut up some strips of cardstock for students to use.

Tricky Triangles Puzzle

I placed the cardstock “sticks” in one of my magnetic pockets I bought this summer for my classroom. They are coming in so handy for putting up puzzles in my classroom as well as organizing activities that have multiple levels/stages.

I originally ran across this puzzle in The 2nd Mammoth Book of Fun & Games by Richard B Manchester. But, a bit of googling revealed this is an old puzzle since the same puzzle can be found in a 1917 issue of Boys Life Magazine.

When I put up this tricky triangles puzzle a few weeks ago, I did discover one down-side to using strips of cardstock instead of the originally intended matchsticks. One of my students found an unintended solution. I told him it wasn’t the intended solution, but I gave him definite points for creativity!

Tricky Triangles Puzzle
The Unintended Solution

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not share solutions to the puzzles I feature on my website because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are not 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.


Tuesday 14th of December 2021

Thank you so much!