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Dissection Puzzles

The Infinite I

This week the Puzzle Corner presents an open-ended, spatial-visualization activity that should both challenge and delight your students. The Infinite I is one of those delicious “put-together” puzzles that uses only a few pieces to form hundreds of interesting shapes. In this respect, it is similar to the popular tangram puzzle. Ironically, The Infinite I is a modification of… Continue Reading

Hatching the Egg

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity challenges students to rearrange the nine pieces of a paper egg to produce a number of different shapes resembling birds. Doing this will exercise students’ spatial visualization abilities while building their problem-problem solving persistence. Hatching the Egg is patterned after the “Magic Egg” puzzle that appears in the Pieter van… Continue Reading

Square Stumper

The object of this puzzle is to divide the large square into four equal regions, each with the same size, shape, and number of circles. Although this puzzle may seem easy at first glance, it will soon become apparent that more than a simple trial-and-error approach is needed. A better method is to approach the… Continue Reading

Similar Shapes

In mathematics, two figures that have the same shape, but not necessarily the same size are similar. The challenge in this puzzle is to draw in lines to divide the large shape below into four smaller similar shapes. Solution Click the arrow below to view the solution. If you’re interested in more fun puzzles check… Continue Reading

Shape It Up

The Puzzle Corner this week comes from the great American puzzle genius of a century ago, Sam Loyd, and was originally published with the name “The Royal Road to Mathematics.” Shape It Up, as we have renamed it, is similar to tangrams, but uses only five pieces that are all different from each other, unlike the seven tangram… Continue Reading

Penny Penning Puzzle

This week’s puzzle is a good one to use early in the school year. It is fairly easy and shouldn’t frustrate students too much in their early exposure to the puzzle-solving process. To do this puzzle, students need only the student sheet depicting the nine-penny arrays and a pencil. The puzzle challenges students to draw… Continue Reading

The Five-Piece Puzzle

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity in one member of a family of challenging, multiple-solution, dissection puzzles. These puzzles are geometric in nature and many, like the one presented here, are modeled after tangrams, the best-known of the dissection puzzles. Like tangrams, students can put the five pieces of this puzzle together into a number of… Continue Reading

Shape Makers

Shape Makers is one of a large family of dissection puzzles which challenge students to assemble a series of smaller shapes to form larger ones. Tangrams, which gained popularity in the early 1900s, are perhaps the most common kind of dissection puzzle. In Shape Makers, four squares and eight triangles must be reassembled to create… Continue Reading

Arranging Rectangles

My thanks to Richard Thiessen for this week’s puzzle. It consists of six pieces that can be put together to make rectangular regions (the regions can be solid or have openings in their interiors). Please download the Vee Diagram: A Guide to Problem Solving article, for ideas about how to use this puzzle with your… Continue Reading