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Miscellaneous Puzzles

Cups and Downs

Cups and Downs

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity is a magic trick with a mathematical, as well as a slight-of-hand, component. I first came across this trick in one of Martin Gardner’s many books on recreational mathematics. I liked it so much that I have been stumping students, friends, and family members with it ever since. In order to make… Continue Reading

Tower Trade

Tower Trade

Tower Trade is a paper adaptation to the traditionally wooden Towers of Hanoi puzzle. In the classic version, a wooden base supports three equally spaced dowels, usually aligned in a row, although the earliest version of this puzzle is reputed to have had the dowels arranged in an equilateral triangle. Six – this number varies —… Continue Reading

Total Count-Ability

Total Count-Ability

How many different answers can you find and justify for the nursery rhyme Going to St. Ives? As I was going to St. Ives I met a man with seven wives. Every wife had seven sacks, Every sack had seven cats, Every cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives, How many were going… Continue Reading

Ocean Anagrams

Ocean Anagrams

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity has an ocean theme. In it, students are presented with a number of anagrams. Anagrams are words or collections of words whose letters are rearranged to form new words or collections of words. For example, an anagram for canoe is ocean. Anagrams have a long history in the puzzle community. Lewis Carroll, who was really… 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

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

Time Marches On

Time Marches On

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity is a simple problem with surprising results. The question posed in the puzzle is: “How many times during a day (24 hours) do the hour and minute hands of a clock point in the same direction?” The obvious answer seems to be 24, yet this is not correct. Students are… Continue Reading