Monthly Archives: December 2015

Squaring Off

Can you create a square that is exactly 5 square inches in area? This activity will show you how.

Gather a ruler, a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, and something to write with.

squaring off 1

Use the ruler to draw 5 squares in a row that are 1 in by 1 in.


Cut them out.


Cut off two squares and draw a line diagonally across them.


Do this again with a second pair of squares. Cut along the diagonals so that you have 1 square and 4 triangles.


Using these five shapes see if you can create a square. I’ll post the answer in a few days 🙂 You can also leave your answer in the comments.

The idea for this came from Shapes in Math, Science and Nature.

Enigma Cafe

One of my favorite exhibits at the MoMath was the Enigma Cafe. There is no food or coffee, instead at each table there is some type of brain teaser or puzzle. I sat down at a Tangrams table, got frustrated, and immediately started scanning the room from something easier.

horseshoe puzzle

Ok, now I was feeling good. My Grandpa taught me how to solve that one.




So then I stopped solving and decided to just observe everyone else. What was really fascinating about the cafe was listening to the conversations. You could hear parents talking things through with their child or see two strangers bond over trying to eliminate one of the possibilities.

If you’d like to imitate the Enigma Cafe experience grab a friend and create your own tangrams. Then start puzzling away. An added benefit of exercising your brain is it will make you a better mathematician.