I gave my students this logic puzzle as a warmup today:

The recent BrainBashers annual marathon has just taken place. The judges have given up keeping a track of who won, as the results go missing each year. Using the following spectators’ notes, can you determine who finished where?

1. Terry Tipton finished after Lisa Limperton and Betty Brent, but before Michael Miller.
2. Paul Peterson finished before David Dartford and Lisa Limperton.
3. Simone Stevens finished after Paul Peterson and before Jane Jacks and Helen Hall.
4. Kenny Kirkpatrick finished after Paul Peterson, Michael Miller and Terry Tipton.
5. Lisa Limperton finished after Betty Brent and David Dartford, but before Jane Jacks and Michael Miller.
6. Michael Miller finished after Simone Stevens and Betty Brent.
7. Betty Brent finished before Jane Jacks, Michael Miller and Paul Peterson.
8. David Dartford finished before Kenny Kirkpatrick and Terry Tipton, but after Simone Stevens.
9. Jane Jacks finished before Kenny Kirkpatrick, Terry Tipton and Michael Miller, but after Paul Peterson and David Dartford.
10. Helen Hall finished before Michael Miller but after Lisa Limperton, Jane Jacks and Terry Tipton.

I loved that some students stuck with the puzzle after warmup time–their determination to solve it on their own and their happiness when they got it right was so rewarding. Now how to channel that feeling of confidence and willingness to tackle a complex problem when it’s framed as regular math…

Follow