Have you heard of Pentominoes before? Pentomino blocks are geometric blocks that are used in math puzzles. Pentominoes are a set of 12 different shapes made by combining five equal squares edge to edge. You can make a set of them really easily and they are really a lot of fun to play with!
The word Pentomino comes from the Greek word for the number five (pente) and also from the -omino of dominos. The creator, Solomon Golomb gave them this term with the interpretation that domino stands for the greek prefix of di- meaning the number two. He also gave each of the different shapes a name based on the letters of the Latin alphabet. (F, I, L, N, P, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z)
I made these using colored one inch cubes and wood glue. You can see the 12 different shapes above. You need 60 cubes total to make all 12 shapes.
There are several different Pentomino block shapes to create. You can make an 8 x 8 square with a hole in the center. Some of the others are 6×10, 5×12, 4×15, and 3×20 rectangles. With each of these different shapes combined there are exactly 2339 solutions!! You could play with it for hours! 😉
You can make this into a math puzzle game on an 8×8 grid with 2 or three players. Players take turns in placing pentominoes on the board so that they do not overlap with existing tiles and no tile is used more than once. The objective is to be the last player to place a tile on the board. This version of the Pentominoes game is called “Golomb’s Game” after the creator.
You can also do some other fun things with them, like create animals! Here are a few you can make including a dog, an elephant, a deer and a crocodile!
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