1-4-5 Square Puzzle Challenge – Day 8

This puzzle, or challenge, is all about making squares. Sarah from Math = Love have adapted the original puzzle from a Netherlands brain teaser website where you use all five pieces to create a square. I love how she has scaffold this activity to allow students to build their stamina to figure out the original challenge. Know that if you do puzzles like this to remind students that finding the answer to the challenges could take days. We are still working on Challenge #3. Here’s her adaptation:

Challenge #1

Can you make a square using only one piece? (I think the idea behind this question is to warm up the brain to making squares with pieces.)

Well that isn’t so tough.

Challenge #2

Can you make a square using exactly 4 pieces?

Wonder what this would look like…

Challenge #3

Can you make a square using exactly 5 pieces?

What does this look like?

Sarah wrote about her experience using this puzzle challenge. You can read more about her experiences here. Below are the directions and the pieces.

Where’s the math? For younger students, the math content is focused on geometry and what a square is and is not. For all students, this puzzle challenge requires students to persevere in solving problems. Remember that we want mathematical thinkers who have the stamina to solve difficult problems.

What grade level? K-12+ In kindergarten, students are learning about shapes, including squares.

Ideas for Distance Delivery Options

  • Synchronous Technology – You might want to send them the pieces prior to a synchronous lesson. You can pose the first challenge and have them share what the solution is. For the second challenge, you could pose it and give them time to solve it. I would advise to send them home with the third challenge.
  • Asynchronous Technology – Give students the challenge and have them send you pictures of the solution. I would not have them share the pictures to a group discussion/chat since there is only one way to solve this problem.
  • Paper – This puzzle challenge could be sent home in a packet for students.
  • Homework – Here are two ideas for homework/extension. 1. Have them find another puzzle online that is similar to this one. 2. Have them create their own puzzle similar to this one.

We are having fun trying this one at home and are still looking for a solution to Challenge 3.

I would love to hear how it goes and if you would like more of these kinds of activities.


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