Try this topological puzzle that will have your students in knots!
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions by Stella Tam that enriched this resource.
Develop mathematical reasoning.
Make connections and solve problems.
Communicate and express their understanding.
Explain the importance of observation when doing math.
Field or gym
What To Do:
This activity will involve your students being squished together and coming into contact with each other. Consider whether your group is ready for this!
Form groups of 8–15 students and spread the groups away from each other.
Have each group forms a tight circle standing shoulder to shoulder.
Each student in the circle puts their right hand into the circle and finds another right hand to hold.
Next, each student puts their left hand into the circle and finds another left hand to hold.
Explain to participants that what you'd like them to do is untangle themselves, without letting go of hands, into a circle.
Now challenge each group to “unknot” themselves. They will need to step over or wriggle under other sets of arms. Let them know that it’s OK to shift your grip so you aren’t uncomfortable, but don’t let go!