An Impossible Triangle

This is my one good thing for Tuesday, because I forgot to write one, I didn’t get home until after 9pm, and I couldn’t think of anything good from the day. But I just remembered one.

I was doing “sign out duty” (where I sit in the front hall and have kids sign out if they are leaving the building). One of my current precalculus students (who I also taught two years ago in geometry) came up to me SO excited. He was — in front of three of his friends — telling me about a math problem that his brother was working on. That he got interested in figuring out. And that he couldn’t solve. But he was obsessed with solving it.

The problem was from his brother’s geometry problem sets. (I wrote the problem sets the following year so my current precalculus student never got to do the problem. I had seen this problem before, but I cribbed the version from the Park School of Baltimore’s problem solving materials.)


In geometry, when we went over this problem in class, I showed them this youtube video first:


In any case, my one good thing is my student who got obsessed with his brother’s math problem. And that he got obsessed enough to tell me. And ask for a hint because he wanted to solve it. And when I told him he might want to cut the figures out of paper, he told me he already did that! Which shows me how obsessed he was with this problem. And yeah, I know, why shouldn’t he be — because if there wasn’t an explanation, all of math is a lie!

I gave him another hint, and he went on his way.


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