a game for big and small children, you could get addicted to
by Hartmut Blessing
It’s just some time ago, a friend of mine showed me a commercial present, a puzzle made of plastic, cause she recognized, that I was often pondering and puzzling and even the crossword-puzzles in the Bild-Zeitung made no fun for me after the solution in few minutes. I made at once a sketch of this fascinating puzzle and build a version of wooden wastes with jigsaw and glue. Surely, also other materials are attractive, but at least it should be cardboard.
The puzzle is named „IQ-Block“ and consists of 10 pieces, which one can combine in different ways to a square with the measurements 8 LU x 8 LU (length units). You can use the pieces on both sides. And this it how it looks like:
In the enclosed instruction stood, that there are about 60 solutions. Meanwhile, I found circa 140 different solutions and still find new ones. For the game has a very high addiction potential (side-effects unknown)! Of course, rotations and reflections of already existing solutions are invalid! Rotations or reflections of single groups of parts (e. g. squares in the square, later more about this) I find admissible. A friend, who studies mathematics, meant, there must be a limited number of solutions, meanwhile, I know, that there are 12724 solutions.
For a better view, I divided the solutions after the position of the 4x2-rectangle in the whole square:
How should one manage now the solution of the IQ-block? For beginners one should say: from the difficult to the easy, from the big and bulky to the small and comfortable (that could also be a motto for life). For example, like that:
Professionals don’t take it that easy way, but search for special solutions, e. g. the 4x2-rectangle exactly in the middle, which corresponds to category 11. Or one begins with the bulky, s-shaped piece, namely somewhere in the middle, like in the examples for category 2 and 4. Or one tries to build two complete rectangles, which halve the whole square exactly. Here some interesting examples:
The most difficult is it again and again, when you do it just the other way like the beginner, which means at first the small, L-shaped piece (which is also used in the game „Tetris“), then the other small ones etc. By the way: reversing is allowed, yet even necessary and educates the flexibility.
Even for children, highly-talented or not, boy or girl, the IQ-block is suited for the promotion of intelligence, creativity and flexibility, especially if the pieces are painted lovely multicoloured.
As well, one shouldn’t stay only by the stiff square-frame, but also let the children invent other figures, like it e. g. it is the case at the well-known tangram, or when we watch spots on the wall or clouds and recognize forms in them. This intuitive form of intelligence often is neglected - even by children. To strengthen the most important (hardly measurable) form of intelligence, the social intelligence, children can make this puzzle also in groups.
Here a phantasy form, a dancing man:
Here some puzzles of my collections:
And here an interesting tangram-page: mathematical puzzles