full transcript
"From the Ted Talk by Gordon Hamilton: Can you solve the Mondrian squares riddle?"

Unscramble the Blue Letters

ducth artist Piet Mondrian’s abstract, rectangular paintings inspired mathematicians to create a two-fold challenge. First, we must completely cover a suqrae canvas with non-overlapping rectangles. All must be uuqine, so if we use a 1x4, we can’t use a 4x1 in another spot, but a 2x2 rectangle would be fine. Let’s try that. Say we have a canvas measuring 4x4. We can’t chop it directly in half, since that would give us identical rectangles of 2x4. But the next cseolst option - 3x4 and 1x4 - works.

Open Cloze

_____ artist Piet Mondrian’s abstract, rectangular paintings inspired mathematicians to create a two-fold challenge. First, we must completely cover a ______ canvas with non-overlapping rectangles. All must be ______, so if we use a 1x4, we can’t use a 4x1 in another spot, but a 2x2 rectangle would be fine. Let’s try that. Say we have a canvas measuring 4x4. We can’t chop it directly in half, since that would give us identical rectangles of 2x4. But the next _______ option - 3x4 and 1x4 - works.

Solution

  1. square
  2. unique
  3. closest
  4. dutch

Original Text

Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s abstract, rectangular paintings inspired mathematicians to create a two-fold challenge. First, we must completely cover a square canvas with non-overlapping rectangles. All must be unique, so if we use a 1x4, we can’t use a 4x1 in another spot, but a 2x2 rectangle would be fine. Let’s try that. Say we have a canvas measuring 4x4. We can’t chop it directly in half, since that would give us identical rectangles of 2x4. But the next closest option - 3x4 and 1x4 - works.

Important Words

  1. abstract
  2. artist
  3. canvas
  4. challenge
  5. chop
  6. closest
  7. completely
  8. cover
  9. create
  10. dutch
  11. fine
  12. give
  13. identical
  14. inspired
  15. mathematicians
  16. measuring
  17. option
  18. paintings
  19. piet
  20. rectangle
  21. rectangles
  22. rectangular
  23. spot
  24. square
  25. unique
  26. works