Joy of Problem Solving

Lateral Thinking With Matchsticks

In the last problem, seeing the upside-down triangle required a shift in perspective. Creativity is important in mathematics. However this doesn't have to be innate. Creative problem solving can be learned through experience and practice!


For instance, try applying that shift in perspective, and other techniques to this larger figure. How many triangles are there here?

Lateral Thinking With Matchsticks

If you are allowed to shift exactly two matches, what is the largest number you can make?

For reference, here are all of the allowed digital numbers:

Lateral Thinking With Matchsticks

The idea in the last problem was to think creatively! The key was to realize that you can put the number 1 anywhere. Notice that it also mattered which 8 we took the matches from.

Now, take a look at this similar puzzle.

If you are allowed to shift exactly two matches, what is the largest number you can make?

Hint: Don't let the number of digits in the initial layout constrain you!

For reference, here are all of the allowed digital numbers:

Lateral Thinking With Matchsticks

If we want to turn the giraffe to face another direction by moving one match, which match will be moved?

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