Problem Solving – Paper Run Puzzle

Find the shortest route possible to solve this brain teaser.


Problem Solving

Paper Run Puzzle

Problem Solving - Paper Run Puzzle

Problem Solving – Paper Run Puzzle

Emily has started a new job delivering newspapers in her local area. She has decided she will use her skateboard to travel between houses. She takes the time to plan the most effective and efficient paper run route. Emily needs to deliver to every house on the map and ride over every street line at least once, with as little total travel as possible. She can start and end at any house on the map. However, some street lines will need to be traveled more than once. This is the difficulty. Can you help Emily find the shortest route for her paper run?
My class really enjoyed this math puzzle. It’s a great way for fast finishers to stretch their brains!

Things to Think About & Test Out:

– What parts of this puzzle are you still a little ‘fuzzy’ on?
– Rewrite, or tell a friend, what you have to do in this puzzle?
– What more information might you need to help solve this puzzle?
– Try starting at a house in the middle rows? How did you go?
– Try starting at a house on the outside rows? How did you go?
– Start at a house with an odd number of streets leaving from it?
– Start at a house with an even number of streets leaving from it?

– Devise a strategy to record where you have traveled? Some people place a counter on each section of the road that they have traveled on. Can you think of a better way to record your route?

– How will I record the house that I started at? Some people use a different colored counter to indict the starting house. Can you think of a better way?

– How will I record my attempts at solving the puzzle? Some people use the house numbers to write a sequential list and total the number of streets at the end. Can you think of another way to record your attempts?

– Look back over your attempts. What strategies are looking the most promising?

Teaching Notes:

– This problem-solving puzzle can be used as a whole class exploration, in group work and learning centers, or for an extension and early finisher activity.

– It encourages students to think mathematically, learn and consolidate problem-solving skills and fosters the ability to persevere through frustration and difficulty.
– There is no answer sheet. The aim is to engage students in problem-solving and authentic discussion to find the best solution. Who are we to deprive them of that ‘A-ha Moment’ with this hard, but enjoyable problem? 

Included in This Download:

3 A4 puzzles for classroom displays.
3 Task Card size puzzles for group work, learning centers, and early finishers.
3 Polya based meme posters
1 PowerPoint puzzle for classroom display and discussion.
3 line puzzles for scratch working out.
1 JPEG puzzle for use with a computer.