I offer this puzzle as a first day activity although it could be offered at other times for students who have completed geometry. This allows me to take care of other tasks while the students are involved in a challenging mathematical puzzle.
The two 8.5" x 11" masters (one colored and one black and white) are to be used to produce enough back-to-back copies so that each student has a copy. It is advisable to have the copies laminated for future use.
Make sure that the students are aware of the time frame (usually one class period or an overnight assignment) that they have to complete this activity. Inform the students to carefully read the poem; then use the graph and the answers for each question to determine "the treasure that we all possess." Then, using the definition available, they are to record their response(s) for each obstacle. When completed, the student responses should be turned in to the instructor.
The answers to the 13 questions of this activity are:
3. diamond (In the background of the poster is a large diamond)
The ordered pairs on the graph from left to right are: (1, 2), (2, 7), (3, 1), (4, 6), (5, 1), (6, 4), (7, 5), (8, 6), (9, 3), (10, 8), (11, 5), (12, 5), and (13, 13). The first coordinate refers to that numbered question in the activity while the second coordinate identifies the position of the desired letter. To illustrate, (1, 2) refers to the first question and the desired letter is "i" which is the 2nd letter of circle. Similarly, (2, 7) refers to the second question and the desired letter is "n" which is the 7th letter in octagon.
When the correct letters are written out, they spell "individuality" which is the treasure we all possess.
I have had students at the end of the year ask me how do solve this puzzle, which was given on the first day of school.