Scroll down to check your answers to our poster puzzles, or further down for a copy of our poster, or even further for hints if you're stuck!
MAA MathFest 2023 attendees: If you have questions, you can find MaPP volunteer Steven Clontz at "The PROSE Consortium" exhibit booth during most of the meeting!
What is MaPP anyway?
The mission of Mathematical Puzzle Programs (MaPP) is to organize quality events which get students moving around, engaged in problems, and having fun by learning and using mathematics to solve a series of puzzles.
Our signature event, the MaPP Challenge, is a puzzlehunt event ran at several college campuses across the country each year, open to their local communities, particularly high school students. Players find puzzles hidden at physical locations across campus, delivered through a GPS-enabled smart device applicaiton. Correct solutions generally lead to new locations and additional puzzles, and our main puzzles are inspired by concepts from contemporary mathematics subjects and research. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
This puzzle requires the use of a common code used in our "cryptic puzzles". Ever heard of flag semaphore?
In order to read semaphore, you'll need to orient the flags in a common direction.
There are five semaphore figures, but the solution has eleven letters.
Some of the letters in the hidden word are encoded by circles. These can also be converted into semaphore configurations, but how?
Did you notice that the circles match the three puzzle colors? How might you take a section of the poster associated with a puzzle color and obtain a semaphore letter?
This puzzle includes an incomplete grid of the letters A-Y. You'll need to find a way to insert the missing letters shown into the grid.
Each row of the grid has a certain rule that fits exactly five of the 25 letters used in the puzzle.
This rule has to do with a mathematical field called "topology": each letter in a row can be deformed into every other letter in a certain way.
All the letters in each row are "homeomorphic", which is a mathy way to ensure that they all have the same kinds of loops and intersections, even if they aren't "congruent" geometrically.
Once all the homeomorphic letters are positioned in alphabetical order in each row, the numbers 1-8 designate which letters can be extracted into the eight-letter solution.
This puzzle is all about data analysis. The images at the base somehow describe the two example datasets of six integers given for each.
To solve this puzzle, you'll need to figure out the rule that connects the eight datasets with the figures at the base. Then each dataset yields a letter, spelling an eight-letter solution.
The key is to consider how close the datapoints are to each other. For example, 65 is closer to 68 than 13 is to 19.
The first two columns of each figure describe how among the six datapoints given, there is always a pair that is closer together than any other pair of numbers.
Imagine the numbers positioned on a number line, and that these points grew outward into line segments at the same speed. When would these segments start to overlap? What would that look like? Eventually they'd all overlap, which is why the last column of each figure is always a single line segment.