Resilience – an Engineering Habit of Mind

Recently, the students learned about resilience, and the importance of being resilient when trying to solve a problem. To help the students practice this skill, we took some time on Flex day to solve a riddle. The students worked for over an hour, independently at first and then in groups, on this riddle before finally solving it. And boy, were they proud when they did!

Read on if you’re interested in testing your resilience and solving it yourself!!

Four people need to cross a bridge in the middle of the night to escape an oncoming horde of hungry mutant zombies. The old, rickety bridge can only hold a maximum of two people at any time, and you only have one flashlight so you must travel together (or alone). The flashlight can only travel with a person, so every time it crosses the bridge it must be carried back. You cannot cross in the dark. It takes you 1 minute to walk across the bridge, the Lab Assistant can cross in 2 minutes, the Janitor can cross in 5 minutes, and the Old Professor takes a full 10 minutes to cross. If two people cross together, they can only go as fast as the slower person. You must account for the time it takes to cross the bridge AND the time it takes to bring the flashlight back. The zombies will reach the bridge in 17 minutes. How can everyone cross the bridge in 17 minutes or less?

Need a hint? Ask a 6th grader!!

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