Pentomino Math

You may have noticed that we’ve been a wee bit obsessed with pentominoes lately. A pentomino is a  set of 12 figures, each made of five congruent (same size,, same shape) squares. Using at least three, you then try to make a rectangle by fitting them together.We became hooked on them after reading Chasing Vermeer and were introduced to three-dimensional pentominoes after reading the sequel, The Wright Three.

First day with the pentominoes

We bought out pentominoes in a class pack from Amazon, which gave us enough for everyone plus some to share. Each child has a tray to keep his or her work on, which makes clean up easy. 4 x 12 = a lot of pentomino pieces. I love that everyone could pick out their own colors as well.

Nicholas’s first 8 piecer!

We made our own 3D pentominoes, although in retrospect it might have been worth it to purchase a set, if for no other reason than the fact that the wooden blocks we bought aren’t all perfectly congruent.

Katie Grace solved the first pentomino puzzle!

So far, we’ve mostly been focusing on making rectangles. They’re an amazing math/geometry/spacial reasoning tool. I hope to eventually add is tessellations and some other geometry concepts like perimeter and area and maybe even volume with the 3D set. The 3D pentominoes should also lead nicely into a study of architecture.

Daniel’s first rectangle– a three piecer!

Some links:
Play online pentominoes on Scholastic’s website
Eric Harshbarger’s Pentomino Page
Pentamino art
Break the Pentomino Code
Pent-Up Pentominoes
Make your own flat pentomino set
Lego pentominoes

Have you used pentominoes as part of your home learning?

Making 3D pentominoes together


  1. I love that ya’ll are wearing goggles to glue the blocks together!
    Thanks for posting this. I was interested in what you were doing. 🙂 <3

  2. Also, did Nicholas “Chasing Vemeer”? Ie, was it a good read-aloud for that age range? I noticed the recommended reading level was 9-12, but as a read-aloud…?
    Thanks! <3

    1. Author

      We got the book on tape from the library, and yes, he really loved it.

  3. I love this! Thanks so much for posting on the Math Monday Blog Hop! Hope to see you there every week. We haven’t done pentominoes yet, but it’s something I hope to do in the next year or two. I need to bookmark this! 😉

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