Three-Cubed Cube Puzzle


Type: Investigation

Theme: Puzzles and Games

Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Learning Target: Students will build a puzzle from 27 wood cubes focusing on how to create a challenging puzzle.


This project is for individuals. 

  1. Criteria:
    1. Build a 3x3x3 cube of 1 centimeter or 1 inch wooden cubes.
    2. Number of cubes per puzzle piece must be no less than 4 and no greater than 6.
    3. Combined pieces should not construct a flat plane.
  2. Build your puzzle. Use only one small drop of wood glue per connection. Do not over-glue or your puzzle with not disassemble.
  3. Wipe off any extra glue. Let dry for a few minutes.
  4. Use painters tape to clamp your puzzle together as a cube. 
  5. Let dry.
  6. Disassemble carefully. Use a utility knife if necessary. Re-glue any pieces that fall off in the process.
  7. Use a stopwatch to time six classmates for solving your puzzle. Create a histogram of the timings.


  1. Photographs of your puzzle:
    1. Disassembled
    2. Solved
  2. Histogram of solve times.
  3. Questions:
    1. What makes a 3x3x3 block puzzle challenging?
    2. What steps could you take to determine all the different ways to construct a 4- to 6-cube piece?
    3. What does the histogram tell you about your puzzle?


Equilateral triangle puzzleCreate a flat puzzle out of wood equilateral triangles.

Model the puzzle first using Desmos.

Exit Ticket
How many ways are there to construct a 4- to 6-cube piece? Can you write an equation to make that calculation?
CCSS Math Practice
  • I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts