Education Technology

The Pirate Problem

Published on 10/17/2008

Activity Overview

The classic geometry problem developed in 1947 by George Gamow comes alive with the interactive platform of TI-Nspire. Will the treasure still be found after the palm tree in the treasure map disappears?

What begins with inductive reasoning ends with a formal proof. This lesson, easily adapted to middle school, utilizes knowledge of quadrilaterals, congruent triangles, reflection, and symmetry. This high school version requires a healthy dose of algebraic reasoning.

Before the Activity

Load the .tns file onto students' handhelds. The Pirate Problem file can be edited according to your needs. If there is not sufficient time for students to construct the "treasure map," then the teacher notes give detailed instructions on how to construct it. Save the changes; then send it to students' handhelds.

During the Activity

During the lesson, ask questions that help students compare and contrast making an inductive generalization and making a formal deductive proof. Why is an inductive generalization not a proof? Find ways to bridge the gap between visual evidence and formal proof.

After the Activity

Review student answers:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary