On Saturday 19 March, 30 local primary school students arrived at CSIA to compete in the 2016 Puzzle Olympics. The 5 exciting events facing them required a lot of determination, mental stamina and great team work.
After arriving in the stadium, the students got themselves warmed up by introducing themselves to their team-mates and coming up with creative team names. The excitement in the stadium built as the team score sheets were handed out and the 'mathletes' got ready to compete.
On your marks... get set... go!
For the first event, teams had to work together to solve a puzzle called 'Beat the Olympic Rings'. This challenging puzzle required students to find a way to arrange the numbers 1-9 inside each of the Olympic Rings, including where the rings cross over, to give the same total inside each individual ring. This marathon event took a while to solve and pushed students to their limits, but eventually teams began to solve the puzzle and won their first points of the competition.
The next event was 'Break the Lock', in which teams had to find the exact 4 digit code for several locks given only a small amount of information about the properties of the numbers in each position. With two points up for grabs for each lock broken this event was a test of speed and mental agility. The third event, 'Built It', was more physically demanding. Teams had to construct 3D shapes using plastic cubes given only the 2D images of the shape from above, from the front and from one of the sides. All teams rose to the challenge, working together to build the 3D shapes and taking it in turns to run to the judging area to have their attempt checked.
After the break and some much deserved refreshments the students were ready to compete in their fourth event of the day, 'Crack the Code'. Teams had a sheet of encrypted messages and had to make accurate use of a key for each one, in the race to decode the hidden mathematical puns. The competitors tackled this test of precision incredibly well, with several teams achieving maximum points in this event.
The final event of the day was the much anticipated 'Problem Solving Relay'. A student from each team ran up to the judges table to collect their first problem card and each team put their heads together to solve the puzzle as quickly as possible. A runner from each team then sprinted up to the judges table with their answer. If, and only if, the answer was correct the runner collected the next problem card and sprinted back to their team. This was a gruelling race, with only 'yes' or 'no' answers given from the judge. The students in each team had to use all of their brainpower, determination, speed and stamina in an attempt to pull ahead in the points table.
Finally we came to the closing ceremony, the winners were announced and prizes awarded. It was a very close call, with only one point separating the teams in first, second and third place!
All teams demonstrated such a fantastic amount of effort and determination; we really enjoyed hosting the 2016 Puzzle Olympics!