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Beast Toothpick Problems


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I have to tell you, these are hard to me. The boys can get some of them, but I really can't figure out any of them without looking at the solutions. I wish my brain was more inclined :(. Anyhow, this makes me not very helpful :(.


My question is: how long should the kid(s) (and I!) need to work on each problem trying to work it out, before we just go to the solutions & see how to do it?


When frustrations start to rise, I've been recommending that we skip the problem & come back or we'll just close up shop for the day & pull it out again the next day. But it seems we are just NEVER going to sort these out on our own.


What am I doing wrong? Please help!

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Gosh, I loved those! I'd say if you can't figure it out yourself after messing with things a few minutes (and give it an honest, enthusiastic go), then you alone should consult the answer key. That way you can drop hints and clues as your children continue to attempt the solution.


And an FYI - what helped me was working backwards. For example, if you're instructed to make 3 squares with X number of toothpicks, if the answer didn't jump out at me I'd disregard the beginning diagram and instead figure out how to form 3 squares with only X toothpicks. Once I had a possible final figure, I'd see if I could then work backwards to the original figure. I hope that makes sense.

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