February 23 Math Minute

Today’s age is filled with a wide variety of forms of entertainment. Television shows and movies are some of the most common forms today. Usually we don’t associate math with these however there have been some movies and episodes with a focus on a math topic. One such movie is Good Will Hunting. The movie has a particular math problem in which an MIT professor claims it took him years to solve. The problem basically to draw all shapes that fit the description. There are ten shapes in total. MIT is one of the best universities in the world. Are you able to solve the problem that supposedly took an MIT professor a long time to solve in a day or less? Find out!

How can you spend your Math Minutes this week?

  • Watch the video linked below, the video introduces the problem and explains how to solve it, pause around 2:30 so you don’t see the answers until after you attempt the problem
  • After pausing the video, try drawing all 10 trees. You can check your answers near the end of the video in which he shares the answers
  • Post a comment sharing something new you learned.  When posting a comment, use your first name, grade, and school (i.e. Tyler, 5, Sunset).  Do not publish your email.
  • Share this video with your parents, friends, and/or adults and ask them if they can solve the problem as well

Good Will Hunting Math Problem

*Inspired by the movie Good Will Hunting

26 thoughts on “February 23 Math Minute

  1. This problem seemed easy because I misunderstood what a tree was. My answers looked nothing like those shown on the video. I did learn what a tree was though.

  2. I discovered it is probably possible to do more than 10! I had done random things and they were trees!

    1. I’d love to see what other trees you come up with Jordyn! Draw them on paper and take a picture and email it to the EY Coordinator in your building.

  3. The professor thought about the problem too much. It is actually very simple. All you have to do is make ten dots, connect lines, and not make any too similar, otherwise you’re wrong. I understand the problem, and I understand how anyone could not understand, for if is complicated, but yet very simple.

  4. If there is one dot connected to two lines that is banned. If it’s in a triangle shape then that is banned. But if it’s in a sun shape that is good. If you copy the bad thing but with a few more lines that is good too.

  5. I learned about one of the hardest math problems (seemingly the hardest, I took a professor 2 years to solve) ever thought of. And it was hard! I also learned what trees are.

  6. It started out like it was going to be hard, and I only got a couple right, but if you know how to do it, it really is actually easy enough for anyone.

  7. He made it look so easy so I assumed it would be easy, but it was really difficult. But I learned about cycles and there has to be more than two lines connecting and 2 or one lines connecting to a point is banned.

  8. I had thought you had to be a complete mathematical genius to answer the problem, I tried it and it was fairly simple, but time consuming.

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