This week the Puzzle Corner presents an open-ended, spatial-visualization activity that should both challenge and delight your students. The Infinite I is one of those delicious “put-together” puzzles that uses only a few pieces to form hundreds of interesting shapes. In this respect, it is similar to the popular tangram puzzle. Ironically, The Infinite I is a modification of the classic T puzzle in which people are challenged to make only one shape, a block T. By changing the length of one of the four pieces of the T Puzzle, a totally different type of puzzle emerges, the Infinite I. It is one which can create literally hundreds of interesting shapes, including a block T.
The challenge in The Infinite I is to have students make as many different shapes as they can using the four puzzle pieces. Students should be encouraged to make a record of their shapes by drawing each shape’s outline on a page. These shapes can then be passed from student to student or placed on a bulletin board as challenges for the rest of the class.
A few of the possible shapes appear below, but students should not be limited to these shapes. Some of these shapes, like the block T, may be difficult for students and will take persistence to solve.
Download this page which contains the puzzle shapes. The page has four puzzles placed side-by-side to make it easier to cut them apart using a paper cutter. Copy this page on cardstock of some other similar material, one puzzle per student. It might be a good idea to give each student an envelope to keep the puzzle pieces together when not in use. (This will also allow them to take the puzzle home; it should prove popular with parents.)
Use the four puzzle pieces to make as many interesting shapes as you can. Make a record of your shapes by drawing them. For an additional challenge, try to make some of the shapes pictured below.
Click the arrow below to view the solutions.