Author Archives: Dave Youngs

The Five-Piece Puzzle

The Five-Piece Puzzle

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity in one member of a family of challenging, multiple-solution, dissection puzzles. These puzzles are geometric in nature and many, like the one presented here, are modeled after tangrams, the best-known of the dissection puzzles. Like tangrams, students can put the five pieces of this puzzle together into a number of… Continue Reading

Lettering Logic

Lettering Logic

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity challenges students to find the “logic” or rule behind a pricing scheme for wooden letters when given a number of examples. In order to do this, students need to look carefully at the letters and the related costs and try to uncover the pricing logic used and then apply it to a new name and their… Continue Reading

The Age Game

The Age Game

This puzzle features a series of computations involving, among other factors, the student’s own age and birth month. After the computations are completed, students are asked to find a pattern in their answers. This is best done in groups and is not difficult if no computational errors have been made. After students have discovered the… Continue Reading

Hand-To-Hand Switcheroo

Hand-To-Hand Switcheroo

The Puzzle Corner activity this week is a magic trick that requires no slight of hand, just a little dexterity of hand—and an application of topological principles. In the trick, two small cylindrical objects are switched back and forth between hands without dropping them. This is not as easy as it might seem since the… Continue Reading

Reducing Squares

Reducing Squares

Reducing Squares belongs to a category of puzzles called “matchstick puzzles” which were very popular in America during the last century. Most adults in those days carried small boxes of matches with them to light the many candles or lamps in their homes. Many of these same people had a favorite repertoire of matchstick puzzles… Continue Reading

Shape Makers

Shape Makers

Shape Makers is one of a large family of dissection puzzles which challenge students to assemble a series of smaller shapes to form larger ones. Tangrams, which gained popularity in the early 1900s, are perhaps the most common kind of dissection puzzle. In Shape Makers, four squares and eight triangles must be reassembled to create… Continue Reading

The Relative Riddle

The Relative Riddle

This week’s Puzzle Corner is a classic riddle requiring reasoning to reconcile. (Please forgive the crude alliteration.) While many of you have encountered this riddle before and already know the answer, the riddle probably caused curious consternation (I beg your pardon once more) the first time you saw it. Riddles like the one presented here… Continue Reading

How Many Squares?

In this week’s puzzle students are asked to find out how many squares are in the figure shown. This is not a difficult puzzle, but it does require some careful observation, organization, and counting. I encourage you to turn to the puzzle right now and give it a try before reading on. This will help… Continue Reading

The Bridge Crossing Challenge

This week’s puzzle is a brief study of network theory whose roots began with a problem that was first approached in 1735 in Köningsberg, Prussia (now Kalinigrad, Russia), In this puzzle, students attempt to draw routes that cross every bridge in a bridge puzzle once and only once. Click here to download the directions for… Continue Reading