What are pentominoes?

A pentomino is a five-square puzzle piece. If you took five squares, and laid them against each other, edge to edge, you might get a shape like this:

F pentomino

Rearranging some more, you might discover several other shapes. There are exactly twelve different ways you can arrange five squares, not counting for symmetrical copies. These twelve pieces have been given names that correspond roughly to their shapes:

There are F I L N P T U V W X Y and Z letter pieces.

You may want to make a full set of pentominoes yourself, using some graph paper or Lego bricks. There are some nice oak, plastic or metal pentomino sets on the market, as well.

The challenge is to fit the various pentomino pieces into interesting shapes themselves. Check the pentomino puzzle list for a few ideas to get you started.

art/design/photos copyright (c) ed halley