Blocks, Blocks, Blocks

The last two morning math circles were all about building with blocks and all sorts of spatial puzzles. We had Blokus and Rumis, pentaminoes, Soma cube puzzle, Kapla Mind Builders set and lots of unit blocks.


Each of these activities has a number of options, so last week it probably felt a bit overwhelming.


But it was a lot of fun and several people complained that our 1-hour session was too short and they didn’t get a chance to try all the options. So I brought almost everything back this week (might’ve forgotten a few things). One of the parents brought Qbits and another brought Kanoodle. P1050648

Some participants decided to work on solving all those puzzles. Others wanted to create their own, like this puzzle above that uses Pentaminos. The task here is to figure out which block is out of place and replace it with another Pentamino block to make it work.


Some decided to build structures with unit cubes, tens and hundreds. They they tested the stability of each structure by either tossing spare unit cubes at it or removing supports one by one. We discussed which structures are more stable and what all the builds had in common.P1050657

Ah, here’s another Pentamino puzzle. This one, if I remember correctly, uses all the pieces. But one of the pieces is not placed correctly. Find it and move in such a way so that the puzzle works.

I also had a jar of problems (an idea I borrowed from one of the participants. These are a mix of logic, insight, pattern, and some arithmetic problems that I’ve collected over time. For example, this one:

Gala was asked how old she was. She said: “The day before yesterday I was 40, but next year I will be 43.” How is it possible?


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