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Archimedes' Laboratory

To start the year off, consider the fun web site Archimedes' Laboratory, which is based in Italy. It is the creation of Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber, two writers, designers and inventors with more than seventeen years of experience in the fields of visual creativity and education. After exploring their site, I get the feel that they are math teachers in disguise as well.

First and foremost, it is a recreational mathematics site...plus! And, I appreciate their initial discussion of puzzles: "Puzzles are not closed problems; they can always be modified or improved to generate a myriad of variants. What's more, they don't require batteries; they are just powered by our own brain cells! To solve the perplexing and tricky puzzles you will find in our site, you need a very high IQ -- not the usual and controversial Intelligence Quotient, but the Inveniens Quaerendo (Latin, discovering by trying) ability."

The opening menu is enough to keep you and your students fascinated for some time:

  • Disentanglment puzzle and others
  • Magic card experiment (that I have not figured out!)
  • Visual droodles
  • Puzzle-of-the-Month Contest and Quiz-of-the-Month Contest
  • Wunderkammer Facts, similar to curiosities
  • A Numberopedia
  • Special Fibonacci calculators you need to play with
  • Tangram puzzles
  • Old Latin Puzzles
And that is just the tip of their fascinating iceberg of puzzles. Their site can be addicting, so consider yourself forewarned.

The site offers access to a teacher resource index, a free on-line newsletter, a puzzle journal, a store filled with physical versions of some puzzles, a chat room, ...plus Puzzle E-cards you can send to friends (or enemies).