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Published on Feb 5, 2011
Students use linear algebra to build rectangles out of squares. The results are aesthetically pleasing and difficult to reproduce by trial and error.
Lessons should start on graph paper - giving students the challenge of trying to "build a rectangle using squares of all different sizes." Students will find it extremely difficult. After 6 minutes hold a vote asking if it is an impossible problem. Then you can begin by handing out one of the easier pages in this presentation and say "solve it." After 15 seconds you can add the hint: "try algebra."