Toothpick Patterns

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In this hands-on activity, learners use toothpicks to build different triangles and squares and then use the toothpicks to build and solve some tricky shape puzzles. This lesson plan contains Texas standards (TEKS), background information, key vocabulary, material list (including black line master), procedures, questions to ask, extensions, and additional resources. This activity can be used on its own or combined with a visit to the Think Tank exhibit at the Children's Museum of Houston.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Flat toothpicks
  • Copies of Tricky Toothpick Puzzles (see black line master)


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Children's Museum of Houston, 2008