My intrepid mathematics explorers, if you are receiving this, I am not with you today. (Sigh.) Chances are that either I\u2019ve somehow divided by zero and been transported to some alien space-time dimension or that I\u2019m out sick. (Cough, cough.) In my absence, I have found a few fun puzzles. Let\u2019s not debate the semantics of \u201cfun\u201d \u2013 like the supreme court and obscenity, I know it when I see it. And these are fun.
Work on any of them alone for 10 minutes. Get some ideas on how to solve
them. Then for the next 25 minutes, work in groups of 3 or 4 to solve some or
all of them together. You can use any method you want. Brute force, a slight
trick, anything. If you are desperate, send one of your group members around
to see how other groups are solving these. For the last 10 minutes, each group
should write up neatly what progress you have made on any of the problems,
and turn them in to the faux-Mr. Shah. Include the names of all your group
members on this sheet.
1. A school has 1000 students with 1000 lockers in a row, one per student.
The first student walks down the line and opens each one. The second
student closes the even numbered lockers. The third student approaches
every third locker and changes its state. If it was open, he closes it; if it
was closed, he opens it. The fourth student does the same to every fourth
locker, and so on. To illustrate, the tenth locker is opened by the first
student, closed by the second, opened by the fifth, and finally closed by
the tenth. All the other students pass by the tenth locker so it winds up
being closed. How many lockers are open?
2. There are six people at a party. Prove that there are three people in this
party who know each other, or three people who are complete
strangers to each other.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?