Math = Love: Eight Lettered Squares Puzzle

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Eight Lettered Squares Puzzle

I ran across a new-to-me puzzle last night, and I had to stop everything and try it out. Then, I had to make my husband stop everything and try it out with me. Math puzzles on a Saturday evening. Yes, we are THAT family!

The puzzle comes from The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Puzzles by The Diagram Group (affiliate link). The book has been around since 1996, so there are several super-cheap copies on Amazon.

The puzzle that caught my eye was the 82nd (of 318) puzzles in the book. The premise is simple. Take a rectangular piece of paper including eight letters. Fold the paper so that the letters end up in alphabetical order, one on top of the other.  No cutting allowed!

Source: The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Puzzles by The Diagram Group
I immediately opened up Publisher and got to typing up the puzzle. This is what I came up with:

The husband and I cut out our rectangles and started folding.

Here was my thought process:

Hmmm...this is fun.

Nope. This is impossible. 

Wait. This is just like Manifold (affiliate link)! FYI - as I write this Amazon is having a SUPER DEAL on Manifold. Only $2.92! (Be careful before clicking purchase to make sure this deal is still a deal!)

If I can do Manifold, I can do this.


I can't do this.

I think I can do this.


Meanwhile, the husband is still folding and folding and folding and folding. For once, I figured out a puzzle BEFORE Shaun. This is rare. He usually solves puzzles at least twice as fast as me. I think my years of fiddling with origami may have put me at a slight advantage when it came to solving this puzzle.

One thing I realized while solving the puzzle was that I needed to find a better solution for using it with students. The way I typed up the puzzle uses one page/student.

So, I decided to type up a version with multiple puzzles to one page to make it a bit more friendly on your copy budget!
My last period Pre-AP Algebra 2 class has become a bit obsessed with puzzles over the last few days. On Friday, I had a few students ask to stay AFTER SCHOOL (ON A FRIDAY) to work on the Color Square Puzzle

I'm excited to let them tackle this new puzzle! 

Want to try this puzzle yourself or with your students? I've uploaded the full page version and the three to a page version here


  1. What is the solution to the eight lettered square?

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