PENTOMINOES & PENTACUBES Click pictures for enlargements
Pentominoes are shapes that can be made with five squares. (In the same way that dominoes are made from two squares.) There are 12 different pentominoes. You can see an arrangement of Pentominoes, and their reflections, in our Bunch of Fives afghan, which has often been used as a teaching aid. We have revisited the ideas we had for the afghan to create a set of pieces that can be assembled as a puzzle. Pentominoes have some interesting properties. Amongst other things, a set of 12 can be arranged in rectangles with the proportions of 6 x 10, 5 x 12, 4 x 15 or 3 x 20 (The afghan shows a solution for 6 x 10) If Pentominoes are turned into 3D shapes, with a height the same as the size of the squares, they become Pentacubes. Pentacubes can be fitted into rectangular boxes of 2 x 5 x 6, 3 x 4 x 5 or 2 x 3 x 10. The pattern includes two separate sets of instructions. One of these is very easy although it does require a lot of sewing; the other has each shape knitted as a single piece with just one edge to be stitched at the end. There are instructions for Pentominoes (flat shapes) and Pentacubes (3D shapes). There are various techniques for each method.
Note: These pieces are very tactile and fun to play with but they cannot be as accurate as solid shapes. Some versions of the puzzle distort more easily than others so might not be suitable for very small children who might simply distort the shapes to make them fit together.
This photo shows pieces made using different methods.