5th Grade Math Puzzles with Answer Guide

Puzzles can be a fun way to engage students in practicing math by developing logic and reasoning skills. If your 5th grader could benefit from practice at home, you can create your own puzzles or use the samples provided below.

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How Can 5th Grade Math Puzzles Help My Child Do Better in Math?

You may not think that solving puzzles can help your child do better in math, but the problem-solving skills used to work a puzzle are the same type of skills that are used to solve math problems. In addition, many children like completing puzzles more than solving math problems. By encouraging your child to complete 5th grade math puzzles, he or she can practice essential math skills while also having fun.

5th Grade Math Puzzles

Secret Codes

Create a secret code for the letters of the alphabet. Then, using that code, write out a message for your child. Your child will have to crack your code to read your message. Keep in mind that the code doesn't have to be overly complicated. It could as simple as counting up by fives or multiplying by three. Just remember to give your child hints for a few letters so he or she can figure out the pattern.

Unknown Equations

Equations with unknowns, like triangle + square + circle = 10, can be a fun and challenging way to get kids engaged with variables. Using shapes, rather than variables like x, y, and z, makes the problem seem less like an equation and more like a puzzle.


Triangle - square = 15

Triangle < 21

Square > 4

Solution: For this problem, your child is given guidelines concerning the value of each shape. He can see that the value for the triangle must be less than 21 and the square's value must be greater than four. So, he must figure out what numbers within these boundaries can be subtracted to equal 15. In this case, the solution is 20 - 5 = 15. This is an acceptable solution because it doesn't break any of the rules.

Party Planning

Often, party planning can be a real-life puzzle. For your child's next birthday, ask her to help plan the party. She will have to consider questions like: How many tables will be needed? How many party favors should be bought if each guest gets two? Your child will enjoy the responsibility for planning everything and will get practice with multiplication, division and problem solving.


Problem: Todd and Ron caught fireflies in their backyard. Todd caught one-third the amount that Ron caught plus the product of two and six. If Ron caught 12 bugs, how many fireflies did Todd catch?

Solution: The variable, x, for this riddle is the amount of bugs Todd caught. For these types of problems, it can be helpful to begin by writing down the known facts. For this problem, Todd caught a third of the bugs that Ron caught, so the equation should look like this: x = 1/3 (12). You also know that you have to add the product of two and six, which is 2 x 6. As a result, the final equation should look like this: x = 1/3 (12) + (2 x 6). After solving, you should find that Todd caught 16 fireflies.

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