This blog is about Simon, a young gifted mathematician and programmer, who had to move from Amsterdam to Antwerp to be able to study at the level that fits his talent, i.e. homeschool. Visit https://simontiger.com
Three boxes with fruit, all the three labels are misplaced. What is the minimum number of times one will have to sample a random piece of fruit from one of the boxes to know how to label all the three boxes correctly? From Mind Your Decisions.
Connect A and A’, B and B’, C and C’, D and D’ so that no lines intersect. (Neva added colors).
Dividing 11 coins among three people: “How many ways can you divide 11 coins to 3 people? How many ways are there if each person has to get at least 1 coin?” From Mind Your Decisions.
Solving a simple quadratic equation geometrically: the geometric interpretation of “completing the square”, a notion from deriving the quadratic formula. From Mind Your Decisions.
Which way do the arrows point? (Simon made this drawing in Microsoft Paint):
For over a month, Simon has been fascinated by Presh Talwalkar’s channel Mind Your Decisions. The channel is full of short videos on famous math problems, logic riddles, proofs and mental math tricks. Simon has also ordered a compilation of Talwalkar’s five most interesting books, including “The Joy of Game Theory: An Introduction to Strategic Thinking”, that we are currently very much enjoying together, and four more, that Simon is reading on his own: “40 Paradoxes in Logic, Probability, and Game Theory”, “The Irrationality Illusion: How To Make Smart Decisions And Overcome Bias”, “The Best Mental Math Tricks”, and “Multiply Numbers By Drawing Lines”.
This one became Simon’s favourite brain teaser. It sounds like it’s filled with irrelevant information, but somewhat counterintuitively, every little bit of information in this puzzle helps! Here is the puzzle: A mathematician tells a census taker he has 3 children. The product of their ages is 72 and the sum of their ages is the house number. The census taker tries to figure it out but explains he still does not know. The mathematician says, “Of course not. I forgot to tell you my oldest child loves chocolate chip cookies.” Now the census taker figures it out. What are the ages of the children?
Simon has also picked up many nifty tricks and beautiful magic squares, both from the book and from the YouTube channel.
In an earlier post, I have mentioned that for many games he programs Simon got his inspiration from the site Maths Is Fun. Perhaps I should add that at our home, Maths Is Fun has become an endless source of fun word problems, too! The problem below has been our favourite this week:
Some of the puzzles Simon likes to recreate with paper and scissors rather than program:
Simon has been fascinated by these possible-impossible puzzles (that he picked up from the MajorPrep channel) for a couple of days. He prepared many paper visuals so that Dad and I could try solving them. This morning he produced this beautiful piece of design:
Simon made this puzzle for me to solve… Except that it’s impossible. The objective is to move 5 so that no other number would be “lonely” (no longer adjascent to another number along the x or the y axis) :
I first only got a strip paper with a sequence of green sticks written on it, separated by comas. Simon did tell me those were pieces of numbers, the way they appear on a calculator screen, and that I was supposed to comolete the sequence. I tried to give this one a shot. To stop the waiting that began to seem eternal he eventually gave me the answer: the green sticks were everything BUT the numbers! Below you see the competed version:
Here, too, one is supposed to continue the sequence of numbers written in a column. You see the pattern?
Here too, come up with the next character:
See the pattern now?
The next one is hilarious! Rearrange the letters below to write ONE WORD:
And in the last puzzle, the nine words used to have something in common, but now it’s just eight of them.
If you get stuck with any of these, leave a plea for help in the comments!
Simon showing the Archimedes puzzle he made himself to his Russian grandmom. Archimedes had created a colorless version of this puzzle, but Simon decided to add colors and use the Four Color Theorem (stating that any map is possible to color with four or fewer colors without two identical colors being adjacent) to help himself solve this murderously challenging puzzle.