Years 2 - 10

There are two parts to this activity - the preparation and the puzzle. You can't do the puzzle without the preparation. You will need a parent to co-operate in the preparation. It will probably be spread over two days.
If you have already done Preparation and Isometric Drawing in another activity, start at Tricubes Challenge.


First you have to make four Tricubes.

A Tricube is made in an L-shape from three cubes and then coloured. So, you need:
  • a length of 18mm dressed square section timber as shown
  • a handsaw, ruler, square, pencil, sandpaper, workbench and vice or clamps
  • PVA glue
  • red, blue and green broad tip markers
With parent assistance as necessary, mark the first 18mm cube with pencil, ruler and square. Cut it off and sand. Measure the next one, cut and sand. Continue until you have 12 cubes.
  • You only need 12 for this investigation, but at later date cut the whole length into cubes. Your cube collection will be used in other activities.
Glue 2 cubes together four times and let them dry. When they are dry, glue a third cube on top of each pair to make the L-shape and let it dry.
  • Use the markers to colour a red one, a blue one, and a green one.
  • The fourth one is not coloured. We will say it is yellow.

Lengths of 18mm pine square section timber at the local hardware superstore.

Isometric Drawing

The picture of the Tricube above is an isometric drawing.
  • Print this isometric paper and join the dots to help you draw a tricube in the smallest possible size.

    When you get it right, the only dots will be on the edges and corners of the Tricube. There won't be any dots inside the faces.

  • Put two Tricubes together to make a new object. Draw the new object.
  • Put the other two Tricubes together a different way and draw the new object.

Tricubes Challenge

  • Open the Tricubes Starter.
    You can read it on screen or print it.
  • Record on the isometric paper.
  • When you have finished stick the isometric paper in your journal.
Have fun exploring Tricubes.

Extra Challenges

  • Use four Tricubes to make an object of your own. Draw it.
  • Use four Tricubes to make an object with the largest possible base area. Draw it and record its base area and base perimeter.
  • Use four Tricubes to make an object with the smallest possible surface area. Draw it and record its surface area.
Ask your parent if you don't know about base area and surface area.

Just Before You Finish

For this part you need your maths journal and your Working Like A Mathematician page.
  • Write and draw in your journal to explain any mathematics you did with your hands.
  • Record at least two ways you worked like a mathematician.


Answers & Discussion

These notes were originally written for teachers. We have included them to support parents to help their child learn from Square Pairs.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre