Proudly presented in BC by the Creative Problem Solving Society (CPSS)

This week’s Verbal Problem: Animal Malady (Don Desrosiers)

Think of a illness or condition that would be bad for an animal to have and why this would be a problem. For example: an elephant with a nose cold is bad because there is so much nose to put the cold into.

Common answers – “obvious” answers like a frog with a frog in its throat, a horse that is hoarse. A giraffe with a sore neck. A chicken with the pox.

Creative answers – Plays on words such as a toad with a frog in its throat, a pony that is a little hoarse. Things that are not illnesses per se but are more like unusual conditions, like a porcupine with an itchy back (who would scratch it?)

This week’s Hands-on Problem: Squeezed Together (Allen Ball)

Your problem is to place as many ping pong balls and tennis balls as possible in the square in front of you. You will be given materials to be used in your solution. No other materials may be used. Timing is up to you and as it is early in the year give the team 15 minutes but in competition they would only get 8 minutes tops.

Each ball must be placed one at a time into the square. The ball must be completely within the taped off area to count for score. Balls that extend past the outside edge of the taped boundary will receive no score. After a ball is placed, a team member must say "done" for that ball before another ball may be placed. A ball may be removed after placement, but must also be removed one at a time.

Score will be as follows:

Each ping pong ball completely within the square will receive 2 points
Each tennis ball inside the square will receive 4 points
If every tennis and ping pong ball are completely within the square at the same time, you will receive 20 additional points.
How well your team works together will receive 1-20 points.

Materials and Setup

1 sheet of newspaper,1 piece of yarn 12" in length,4 straws,25 toothpicks, 1" square of clay,5 pieces of spaghetti,1 sheet of construction paper

On a hard surfaced floor or table top, tape off a square for ball placement.

For Division 1, the square will measure 6" x 6"
For Divisions 2 and 3 the square will measure 4" x 4"

Give each team a bag or basket containing 12 ping pong balls and 12 tennis balls. (You may vary this for practice, depending on what you have available, of course). The bag or basket may NOT be used as part of the solution. The team may use the given materials for containing the balls in the taped area. But be sure they say "done" after a ball is placed, before attempting to place another ball. When scoring, use a ruler placed on the outside edge of the taped boundary to determine whether a ball is entirely within the boundary. Balls outside the boundary will NOT count for score; however, a ball supported by one outside the boundary WILL count for score if that supported ball is entirely within the square.