This is a puzzle designed for a Montessori group and intended for educational purposes as well as providing a meaningful puzzle challenge for any age.
There are 10 pieces. Each piece is numbered on one side (#1- 10) and has a grid of the same unit on the other side. There are 2 different woods used, with the odd numbered pieces being one wood and the even number pieces a different wood.
Woods will vary , but I will use mostly Maple, Cherry, or BeetleKill Pine. Woods are beautifully cut and finished. All lines and text are laser engraved. No ink or paints are used in the puzzle.
The base is made from Floorboard material. It is attractive and very rugged as well as waterproof and easily cleaned.
There are many learning or teaching opportunities possible with this puzzle and no doubt some of you will come up with your own. Here are some keys features:
Ages 3 to 5: - There are 10 pieces each consisting of from 1 to 10 unit squares. Younger children, can you find each piece just by looking at the side with the grids but no numbers?
Ages 5 to 10: - Pick any number between 11 and 55. Try to find the blocks that when combined add up to the number selected
Ages 8 to adult : - Can you fit all the pieces into the large rectangular opening? There are many possible solutions. George Sicherman did a computer analysis that showed 6502 possible solutions. See if you can find one. You may find it quite challenging even though there are so many potential ways. Its a great task for the 7 to 10 year old, as it will be difficult yet if they keep at it a solution is likely. Then they can try to find other solutions.
-Next try to find a solution that has no number showing (only the grid sides of the pieces). This is more difficult yet there are 1030 ways to do this. A good challenge for the 10 to adult group. We have found 10 to 30 minutes is a typical solution time for those that solve it; though many give up.
- Finally try to make a Stepped Right Triange of side 10 on the 2 right angle sides. It is stepped along the hypotenuse. It can be done 2168 ways if the pieces can be flipped and 572 ways if only the grid side is used. Thanks to George Sicherman for developing this challenge for the pieces.
I hope that as you identify other learning opportunities that you will let me know so I can share with the community.
Designed and built by Dave Janelle, Creative Crafthouse in Hudson, FL
Level of Difficulty: Level 3