Creative thinking.


 When we approach a problem we create a kind of mental model that is based on how we were taught to solve such problems. Below is an arithmetic problem using matchsticks to form Roman numerals and operators (+, -, and =). The equation is incorrect.

Incorrect Equation PROBLEM

Creative thinking


See if you can solve it by envisioning a solution in which only one matchstick is moved to create a correct equation. You can only move one matchstick once (but not remove it).

 Many people have trouble with this problem because they learned in school that solving arithmetic problems is a matter of manipulating quantities. For example, many people play around with this problem by moving the matchsticks that change the numbers, for example by taking away the first matchstick forming the "one" in the Roman numeral IV, changing it to a V. This "learned" perspective of what an arithmetic equation is brings many people to a complete standstill and they declare the problem impossible.

 The very knowledge of arithmetic prevents us from approaching the problem on its own terms. Consequently, our thoughts go around in circles. We waste time reapplying methods we’ve learned in the past we already know to be futile. Creative thinking is knowing how to look at problems in many different ways. Instead of looking to exclude possibilities, look for ways to include them. Creative thinking involves changing the way you’ve been taught to look at things. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

 SOLUTION The problem is easily solved when you change your perspective about arithmetic and consider the operators (+, -, =) of the equation as well as the quantities. This will help you see the problem from a different angle. The solution lies in moving one matchstick to change the operators.

 Correct Equation

5 responses to “Creative thinking.

  1. Being a little handicapped when faced with mathmatical problems, I found myself blind to the fault… mind had changed the operators to make it work and would’nt allow me to see what was wrong. It seems I have a need to make things fit within the way I think they should be….! idealist i think! A dreamer I will always be but I believe dreamers can change the world too. Joy and light….Edana


  2. Ok now I see the correct answer Kenny , and I almost had it. You really have a fun space.
    Peace to you and yours


  3. Well as you know my brain is wired differently to most oher people but I say 4 – 3 = 1.
    Love Suki x


  4. Morning Kenny. Wet here again, after a few days of sun. Hoping to explore some new woods this weekend, (new to me, anyway). A great way to shrug off lifes daily problems.
    Enjoy the rest of the day  :)


  5. Hi kenny ,
    I think I have it but not sure. I was never good at math, but dont give up or give in too easy. So I guess I try and say 5 -4 =1 , This is what I see tonight.
    very interesting in changing things the way we were taught to is easy in some areas and not in others although as I get older and ya I said that older its more my way :) :)
    Thanks for the link on 777 , Intertesting and was read it . It really is incredablely amazing.
    Deep Peace to You Kenny and thanks and if by chance I got this right let me know .
    And I might make bread this week and  if I do I save some for you .!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s