## Jumping puzzle

By David Shaw, 8 April 2014

Time to jump start your brain for the day. Can you solve this jumping puzzle?

### You will need

You will need these items.

### Assembling the pieces

- First make the playing pieces. Cut along the thick black lines to get three boy strips and three girl strips
- Fold each strip along the dotted lines to make a triangle and hold it together with a piece of sticky tape.
- The remaining piece of paper has a line of seven circles – this is the board.

If you want to colour the pieces, do it before you cut them out!

### The puzzle

- Put one boy piece on each of the three stripy circles, and one girl piece on each of the umbrella circles. Leave the middle circle empty.
- The aim of the game is to swap the girls and the boys.
- There are two ways a piece can move. They can move into the next circle if it is empty. Or they can jump over a different piece into an empty circle.
- Girls can only jump over boys. Boys can only jump over girls.
- Girls can only move towards the boys’ side and boys can only move towards the girls’ side. No-one can move backwards.
- There are only two solutions to the puzzle. Good luck!

Use tape to assemble the pieces.

### What’s happening?

This jumping puzzle is very easy to get wrong – you can make a mistake on the second move that makes it impossible! Here are a few clues to get you started.

You can only jump over one piece at a time. So two boys or two girls in a row are very hard to move past. Try to keep things going girl, boy, girl, boy.

You only have one empty space to move pieces into. Try watching where the space moves as you play through the puzzle. It needs to visit the whole board, but it’ll spend more time in the middle.

For a bigger hint, here’s a list of moves that should work:

The pieces on the left can only move right (and vice versa!)

Move 1 girl

Move 2 boys

Move 3 girls

Move 3 boys

Move 3 girls

Move 2 boys

Move 1 girl

But you’ll have to work out which ones to move!

*If you’re after more maths activities for kids, subscribe to Double Helix magazine!*

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