Math Goggles #8 – Make a Puzzle

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5-Room Lego Puzzle

This week’s challenge is a bit late, but better late than never. And the reason it’s late is because I was too busy playing  exploring math with my son’s Legos. Anyway, are you ready for this week’s Math Goggles Challenge? If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, then here’s a helpful “what’s this all about” post.

This week, let’s work on some math and logic puzzles. If you do not like or avoid such puzzles because they make you feel anxious, nervous, stressed, harassed, tricked, lost, confused, insecure or otherwise remind you of a pop-quiz the day after you didn’t do your homework, relax. It’s not going to be like this. In fact, this challenge is not about solving puzzles (but if you do, that’s perfectly fine).

Here’s what to do this week. Find a math and logic puzzle that you’ve not seen or solved before. Now, build it with whatever it is you have handy – cardboard, wrapping paper and glue; modeling clay; marshmallows and toothpicks; building blocks. You might like the challenge of recreating a pen-and-paper puzzle with 3-dimensional objects. Or you might like the idea of taking a 3D puzzle and drawing it.

I got the idea for this week’s Challenge from MathFour’s 5-Room Puzzle post. I thought it’d be interesting to turn this puzzle into a little Lego adventure for my child. And so I sat down to build it. Admittedly, I didn’t do a very good job copying the puzzle exactly. But here’s what did happen. As I was building the puzzle, snapping Legos together, it occurred to me how I could check whether the puzzle I built had a solution. And that was a huge “AHA!” moment, I tell you and it felt great too!

So there you go. Find a puzzle that looks interesting, build it and concentrate on the process of building instead of on solving it. Enjoy!


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