These two – Map coloring and Blokus – were the most popular activities at last Thursday’s morning math circle. Other games that I brought were SpotIt – it provides a nice break from problem-solving, but also I hope one day to do a circle that would explore this game deeper.
Izzi was another popular puzzle. It’s very meditative and, no matter what you do there, you end up with something beautiful and unique. That’s another idea for the future – explore the real big numbers with Izzi.
There was also a spirited game of Mine Shift going at some point. Among other ideas, you can investigate the commutative property with it.
Other puzzles I prepared were the Knight’s Tour (you can play the 8×8 version of it online or draw your own any size version) and the map coloring puzzle.
Since the map coloring was the more popular of the two, here’s the description:
I drew a bunch of “maps”, but you can draw your own. 3×5 cards are perfect for this. Your task is to color you map using as few colors as possible and following the Rule:
THE RULE: No two areas that touch each other (have a common boundary) can be the same color. EXCEPTION: Areas that touch at only one point can be the same color.
After coloring a few maps, see if you can draw a map that only requires 2 colors? How about 3 colors? Perhaps a 4-color map? Can you create a map that would require at least 5 different colors?