Perplexing Pencil Problem

Perplexing Pencil Problem

This week’s post introduces a wonderful topological puzzle. Topology is one of the newest fields in mathematics. To illustrate this, note that Henri Poincare’ (1854-1912), who is considered the founder of algebraic topology, published the first systematic treatment of topology in 1895. On the other hand, Euclid (330?-275? BCE), the father of geometry, wrote his… Continue Reading

Arrow Arrangements

Arrow Arrangements

This particular puzzle comes from The Moscow Puzzles. The puzzle is found in the section entitled “Geometry with Matches,” which offers a selection of matchstick puzzles as “geometrical amusements that sharpen your mind.” Arrow Arrangements is one of the more difficult puzzles in this section, and requires students to understand and apply some basic geometric… Continue Reading

Hatching the Egg

Hatching the Egg

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity challenges students to rearrange the nine pieces of a paper egg to produce a number of different shapes resembling birds. Doing this will exercise students’ spatial visualization abilities while building their problem-problem solving persistence. Hatching the Egg is patterned after the “Magic Egg” puzzle that appears in the Pieter van… Continue Reading

Relative Reckonings

Relative Reckonings

This week’s Puzzle Corner activity comes from the field of recreational mathematics where people do math just for the fun of it. One of the areas of recreational mathematics is logic. Logic puzzles are usually challenging and are normally resistant to quick and easy solutions.The puzzle presented here, Relative Reckonings, is no exception. This puzzle… Continue Reading

Tangled Hearts

Tangled Hearts

This week’s activity is a disentanglement puzzle. These puzzles range from simple to difficult and most appear, at first glance, to be impossible. Once they are carefully studied, however, solutions usually present themselves. Since this puzzle is easily made from inexpensive materials, each student should have one. Make a sample copy of the puzzle beforehand… Continue Reading

Leprechaun on the Loose

Leprechaun on the Loose

This week’s puzzle activity is another disentanglement puzzle. These puzzles range from simple to difficult and most appear, at first glance, to be impossible. Once they are carefully studied, however, solutions usually present themselves. Since this puzzle is easily made from inexpensive materials, each student should have one. Make a sample copy of the puzzle… 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

Linking Loops

Linking Loops

This week the Puzzle Corner activity utilizes concepts from one of the most recent fields in mathematics – topology. Topology is the study of geometric properties that are not affected by changes in size and shape. This includes the study of knots, inside and outside, networks, and the transformation of shapes and surfaces. Linking Loops is a classic… Continue Reading