Category Archives: Puzzling

Outside The Box, Nov-Dec 2013: A Riddle Runs Through It

I run a monthly school-wide puzzle contest that I call Outside The Box. I’ve crafted a riddle for Nov-Dec’s OTB challenge. Some of you will recognize the important idea at work here. If you, interested reader, would like to participate, contact me with an answer and I will physically mail you something sweet!

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2012

Here’s the OTB Challenge I posted for Nov-Dec:

Last month the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a 42km marathon, was held. It had approximately 4000 participants.

Assume that it had way more participants, say 50000 runners, who all made it to the finish line. Would you be able to say, with absolute certainty, that at least two runners took the exact same number of strides to get to the finish line?

Complete reasoning of your answer is required to win this challenge. (i.e. If ‘yes’, explain why. If ‘no’, explain why not.) The winner will get something chocolaty. Ties will be broken by clarity, correctness, and completeness of the given solutions. You have about a month to submit an answer, until December 18th.

Happy puzzling!

Mr. Chow

I had two groups of students submit correct answers to October’s literal and spatial OTB Challenge. We’ll see how this one goes! 😀

Classroom Field Recordings: Music to My Ears

 I’ve been away for a month, not the best way to try to restart this blog, this year! Sorry I was quite wonderfully distracted for the last month, but I’m focused now! 😀

Last week, I was really pleased and proud of the hard work done by the students in my physics classes. They were tackling some tough kinematics problems in small groups, with little direct help from me. I was so happy that, on a whim, I started to record some of these sessions. This will give other teachers a sense of what my classes sound like. To me, it’s music to my ears! Students puzzling together over a new situation/problem, and figuring out the correct solution together. It reminds me of how climbers approach a new problem and work it out together. 🙂

1st Projectile Problem:

I’ll be back soon with more substantive posts about Growth Mindset, the Importance of Student Agency in the Classroom, and a post about Classroom Ambiguity (which I’ll purposefully leave ambiguous for now)… and all of their connections to climbing!

Braking with a Reaction Time 1:

Braking with a Reaction Time 2: 

Outside The Box, October 2013

I run a monthly school-wide puzzle contest that I call Outside The Box. October’s OTB challenge was the first of the school year, and I was testing the waters to see if there’s enough interest to keep it going for 2013-2014 (last year, I stopped around February, partially because of Robotics competition season and partially because of thinning participation).

Here is the challenge I posed to the school on Oct. 1st:

October’s OTB Challenge.mp4

Using (recycled) paper, create the two objects in the video. Your creations should have the same folding abilities as the ones featured.

All valid solutions will receive a prize. The size of that prize depends on the number of people who submit correct solutions.

(Apologies to Paul and Justin for removing important credit… I’m trying to make the solution ungooglable. I will include full credit when I give solutions on Nov. 1st!)

I’m happy to report that I received a collaborative solution from two S4 students today! (S4 = Grade 10/11 at my school)
Their awesome solution can be found here: October’s OTB Solution, Alev and Monica.mp4

So at least some prizes will be given this month, hopefully the first of many this year! 😀