Save the Earth by shooting down the invaders as quickly as possible. Unfortunately there is a problem, you only have one ion cannon and it can only shoot at one place at a time. This puzzle is perfect for an open-ended classroom competition. I know the optimal answers in only a few, simple cases. Above see me introducing the problem to one struggling child. On the right see my first quirky Earth Attack videos. Download a pdf of these puzzle-sheets and a circular variant here.
Standards for Mathematical Practice
MathPickle puzzle and game designs engage a wide spectrum of student abilities while targeting the following Standards for Mathematical Practice:
MP1 Toughen up!
This is problem solving where our students develop grit and resiliency in the face of nasty, thorny problems. It is the most sought after skill for our students.
MP3 Work together!
This is collaborative problem solving in which students discuss their strategies to solve a problem and identify missteps in a failed solution. MathPickle recommends pairing up students for all its puzzles.
MP6 Be precise!
This is where our students learn to communicate using precise terminology. MathPickle encourages students not only to use the precise terms of others, but to invent and rigorously define their own terms.
MP7 Be observant!
One of the things that the human brain does very well is identify pattern. We sometimes do this too well and identify patterns that don't really exist.