Pentomino Battleship

Primary/Junior (Age 6 – 12)

Curriculum Goal

Primary/Junior: Geometry and Spatial Sense

  • Plot and read coordinates in the first quadrant of a Cartesian plane.


  • This game can be played as a teacher-led game or a barrier game.
  • If students are unfamiliar with coordinates, play the warm-up game first.


  • 1 Pentomino set per Player 1
  • Multiple square tiles in 2 different colours per Player 2
  • 1 Game board per player (Appendix)


Part 1: Pentominoes on Grid

  • Pairs of students sit facing each other, with a barrier in between.
  • Player 1 secretly places two pentomino pieces on their game board (Fig. 1).
  • Player 1 calls out, one at a time, the letter-number coordinates for where the pentominoes are placed. They will also refer to a different tile colour for each pentomino shape (e.g., place a yellow tile on A4).
  • Player 2 follows the instructions to place the square tile in the correct spot.
  • Repeat this process (e.g., red on D3, yellow on A2, red on E3, etc.) until the two pentomino shapes are created on Player 2’s game board (Fig. 2).

Part 2: Pentomino Battleship

  • Player 1 secretly places two pentomino pieces (“battleships”) on their game board (Fig. 3).
  • Player 2 calls out a letter-number coordinate.
  • Player 1 reveals whether it’s a hit or a miss and Player 2 will place a tile on the target grid accordingly (e.g., blue for hit, yellow for miss).
  • Players continue until the two pentomino battleships have been “sunk” (Fig. 4).
Pentominoes on grid

Figure 1. Player 1

Square tiles on grid

Figure 2. Player 2

Pentominoes on grid

Figure 3. Player 1

Figure 4. Player 2

Look Fors

  • Can children accurately describe the location of their pentominoes?
  • When playing battleship, what strategies do children use to plan their next move? For example, do they predict what pentomino they may need to sink and select coordinates appropriately?
  • What spatial language do children use?

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