Math = Love: Symmetric Square Puzzle

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Symmetric Square Puzzle

Today I finally got around to taking down the last puzzle we tackled before Christmas Break. It is always my aim to switch out my puzzles on a weekly basis, but sometimes the hectic nature of the classroom prevails. This was a reminder that I haven't shared this puzzle here on the blog yet.

This Symmetric Square puzzle is from Robert Allen's Mensa All-Color Puzzle Book (affiliate link).  It's an okay puzzle book for personal puzzling, but I struggled to find enough puzzles with classroom applications to really recommend it for teachers to purchase.

Students are given ten tiles which must be arranged in such a way that a square is formed in which each horizontal line matches up with a vertical line. You should notice quite quickly that this partial attempted solution does not work.

Only a day after I tweeted a picture of the puzzle on my dry erase board, Tracy Esposito was sending me pictures of student reflections after having her year 6 class tackle this puzzle. How awesome is that?!?

Image Source:
Want to try the puzzle out yourself? I have uploaded the files here.


  1. Your blog has inspired my teaching SO MUCH. I teach grade 7 in Vancouver BC. I hope you know how much we appreciate the effort you put into this blog. THANK YOU!

  2. A little confused... The square piece has two 6s, and there is a 2x1 piece with a 0 & 9. Those are both obvious because they're underlined. Then there's a 3x1 piece that doesn't have any underlining, but based on the direction of the 5 it seems to read 5,8,6. Is the 6 not underlined on purpose, or just because it's unnecessary since the orientation of the 5 gives it away? Or are they supposed to struggle with if it's a 6 or 9?

  3. Hi Sarah.
    Thank you so much.
    It's a great job you're doing here.