Saw a cool problem on an old Shecky Riemann blog post last week:

Neat problem from Shecky Riemann

Thought I’d go through it today with the boys. This time more as a study of their approach than as a conversation. It turned out that both kids approached the problem more or less the same way. Even with the overlapping techniques, though, it was still interesting to hear them talk through the problem since they explained the ideas in slightly different ways. In the last video in this project we explore some other approaches to the problem.

This is a really nice problem to work through with kids – there are many different ways to approach it and most of the approaches are accessible to any kid who knows arithmetic. No matter the approach, though, this problem is likely to lead to some interesting math conversations – ranging from arithmetic, to basic counting, and maybe even to algebra.

The first two videos show my older son’s approach:

Next, my younger son following essentially the same approach:

After the two solo runs through it, I brought the boys together to talk through their approaches and also discuss alternate solutions:

Definitely a fun problem, and a nice problem to use to discuss a little introductory counting ideas with kids.