Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dragon's Math Super-Puzzler

Gage brought home a binder today from Camp Edventure containing some worksheets they have done in class. One of the worksheets had a math puzzle on it, and when I was looking at it and the directions, I noticed Gage had it wrong. I asked him about it and he said his teacher couldn't figure it out either. So, I gave it a try. I want YOU to give it a try and let me know how long it takes you to figure out.

First of all you'll have to follow these instructions to get the puzzle set up to even do it. (It was already set up on the worksheet, but I can't do it on here, so you'll have to follow my directions)

First, you need to make a grid that is 5x3. 5 squares horizontally across, and 3 squares down the side. (So that's 3 rows of 5 horizontal boxes) Now, in the first horizontal row (the top row) put a plus sign (+) in the second box and a minus sign (-) in the fourth box, and at the end of the row (not in the grid) write the number 9. Now, in the second row across, put a minus (-) sign in the first box, blacken out the second box, put a plus sign (+) in the third box, blacken out the fourth box and in the last box put a (+) sign. In the last (or bottom) horizontal row put a minus (-) in the second box and a plus (+) in the fourth box and at the end of the row (not in the grid) is the number 6. Now, below the grid, under the first vertical row write the number 2, under the third vertical row write a 7 and under the fifth (or last) vertical row, write the number 6. You should now have a grid that has 6 empty boxes and here are the directions for the puzzle.

Using each of the numbers 1-6 only once, fill in the blank squares so that each row and column will equal the number in the "answer" box. (The numbers 9, 6, 2, 7 and 6, which aren't inside the grid have a box around them on the worksheet, hence "answer box")

Do the puzzle before you read the rest of my blog entry.

How long did it take you to solve the problem? Did you solve it? What were your thoughts about it? Did it seem a little tough for a 7-year-old heading into the 2nd grade?

Here were my thoughts. "Why in the heck would they give this kind of puzzle to a 2nd grader?" "Is this stupid thing even solvable?" "Maybe it is misprinted, and why in the heck would they put something like this on a worksheet when it isn't even printed correctly?" "No wonder Gage couldn't figure it out!" "CRAP! I'm in trouble because I'm not even going to be able to help Gage with math homework now that he's in the 2nd grade!" (Can you see that I was just a little bit frustrated?) Then after (I'm not quite sure how long, because I didn't time myself) I'd say about 10 to 15 minutes (?) I figured it out. Here were my next thoughts. "Whew, I did it, as I'm smiling and yell out to Gage, I DID IT!" "That was kind of tough!" I asked Gage if anyone else in his class figured it out and he said they didn't. Then I thought, "Wow, that's not good if I can figure this out and his teacher can't?" "What kind of teacher is she if she can't even figure out that math problem?" "Hmmm, maybe I should hope for a different teacher next year?"

Just curious how well you all did. It's just a little bit tougher for all of you because you had to follow my instructions to build the grid before you even start trying to solve the problem. AND, if you didn't follow my directions properly, I'm quite sure it isn't solvable. However, if you followed my directions AND the puzzle directions correctly, it IS solvable. If you can't figure it out and want the answers, let me know. :-) Enjoy!


Jari said...

Hey Stacy you give good directions Katie did it in 2-3 minutes and a few choice words. Just thought you would like to know how bad she kicked your butt. LOL I cheated off of her so I got it in 5 minutes.

Kara said...

I love those kind of brain teasers! I got it in 1 minute, 31 seconds once I got the grid set up. I agree that it would be hard for a second grade student....and that is terrible that the teacher didn't have the answer for them!