Monday, August 2, 2010

Answers to the InspirUS Homework Questions

Earlier this week I posted a couple of homework questions from Lancaster Royal Grammar School’s InspirUS program. If you didn’t get them, don’t feel bad. These problems baffled just about every adult I showed them to. And just think: these are questions for students in grades 3 and 4! In case you don’t remember, here they are again:

1.) What Comes Next?

A E A P A U U U E _ _ _

U O U E _ _ _

P U U _

2.) The Next Line Would Be?

1
11
21
1211
111221

Still stumped? The answers require you to really think outside of the box.

Here’s a bit of explanation. For the first one, if you count the number of letters in each line (including blanks), you’ll notice that they are 12 - 7 - 4. Months, days of the week and seasons. A closer look reveals that these are the second letters of each month, day and season. jAnuary, fEbruary, sUnday, mOnday and so on. Just follow the pattern, and you’ll get:

A E A P A U U U E C O E

U O U E H R A

P U U I

The second one is even more devious. Each line describes the line before it. The first line is “1.” The second line describes that line. There is one 1, or 11. The third line follows suit, pointing out that there are two 1’s in the second line. The fourth line describes the one 2 and the one 1 of the previous line. This can go on forever! Here are the next few lines:

1
1 1
2 1
1 2 1 1
1 1 1 2 2 1
3 1 2 2 1 1
1 3 1 1 2 2 2 1
1 1 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 1

These gifted LRGS students are getting a first class education in creative problem-solving. Thanks so much to teacher Kathryn Page and LRGS Development Director Jenny Cornell for their exceptional work (and for sneaking me the answers!).

2 comments:

Alex van Paassen said...

Thanks for posting the answers. The key is patterns, and that's a great thing to learn for kids - things often aren't as random as they seem, and life is filled with the tools to help work life out. Sitting in on one of my son's Assassin sessions, i was reminded by one of the code-cracking tasks (required to open the next level or whatever) of the pen and paper games -- like the inspirus exercises -- that encouraged creative thinking when I was his age. We're long overdue for educators themselves to start thinking outside the box. Working with gamers to inspire their audiences to do more than just shoot'em up is a great place to start...

Chris Simon said...

Some of the best teachers have been interactive interfaces, (not necessarily a breaking code or patterns approach). I think AVP's comments and educating the educators is where 2010 is at. Educators' outside the box thinking should be 'shared' absolutely and equally with today's content creator, their students. Swap places for a day in class, do random concept tests and see what educational content might be created and posted by end of class. I'd place bets on its originality and most importantly, useability.