What Are Pentominoes?
Pentominoes are shapes made from 5 squares and provide a fascinating way of exploring shape and space within a puzzle context.
There are 12 different pentominoes in the set and they can be used for a variety of activities and puzzles.

Click to get the full set, game board and activities.

Pentomino Set

The set can be assembled to make a 10 by 6 rectangle. The one shown on the left can be divided into two smaller 5 by 6 rectangles. There are 2339 different ways to make a 10 by 6 rectangle but it is a very challenging puzzle.
The puzzle works best if you print the shapes you need onto coloured card, laminate them and then cut them out. Solution can be recorded on squared paper. Sometimes pentominoes need to be turned over.

A Pentomino Game
There is a page offering a pentomino game. The game is played by dividing the pieces among two or three players. Each player places a piece on the game board in turn. Pieces must not overlap each other. The last player to place a piece is the winner. The winner starts the next game. Games typically last 6 moves.

Pentominoes are usually named after the letter of the alphabet which they resemble. The ones below, the C and the P pentomino, are clear but with others some imagination may be needed to spot the letter.

C Pentomino                   Enlarging a P

    Pentomino Activities

  • Make small rectangles such as 3 by 5 and 4 by 5. These are straightforward and there are many examples to find.
  • Make larger rectangles. Both 5 by 6 and 5 by 7 are good examples.
  • Make rectangles with the full set. This is very hard despite there being thousands of ways to do it. The 20 by 3 rectangle is the simplest to make - there are just two ways to do it.
  • Make a larger copy of one of the shapes. There is a template page for enlarging the P pentomino using 9 of the other pieces. Click here or on the P shape above for a copy of this activity.

All pages on both the CD and the website are Copyright Bob Ansell and Mathematical Publishing - First Published 2001