Autumn 2012 / Life on Campus
A Puzzling Creation

Ed Barbeau uses math puzzles to encourage analytical and innovative thinking

Math puzzle

U of T math professor emeritus Ed Barbeau is able to produce this object using only a pair of scissors and one rectangular piece of paper. If you believe that only one side of the sheet faces up, look again.

This is one of many puzzles that Barbeau used to present to his math class for non-math students – often with great results. “Being good at math doesn’t necessarily make you good at puzzles,” says Barbeau. “In fact, English students scored very highly on [my puzzles] because they approach math in a non-standard way.”

Find more mathematical challenges in Barbeau’s book After Math: Puzzles and Brainteasers (Wall & Emerson, 1995).

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