Activity Name: Impossible Problem
Time Required: 5-10 minutes
Ages: 9 and up
Introduction: When problems arise, an important part of Rock Bottom Resilience is being able to believe in solutions and options that haven’t shown up yet. This activity challenges family members to complete a math problem that seems impossible at first – but the unforeseen solution gets revealed in the end.
What you need:
• 1 piece of paper per family member
• 1 writing utensil per family member
Give each family member a piece of paper and writing utensil. Ask everyone to write the following formula:
5 + 5 + 5 = 550
Ask family members to make/draw one line to make the formula correct. They are not allowed to use the (=) sign. After a few minutes, allow some small group discussion before revealing the secret.
To solve this problem, make one slanted line (/) on on the first + sign to make it a 4:
545 + 5 = 550
• Did this seem like an impossible problem at first?
• Were you surprised by the solution?
• What are some other challenges in life that might seem impossible to overcome?
• Do you think there are some solutions to these challenges that we just can’t see, like you couldn’t see the solution to this activity?
• How can believing in options and solutions that we can’t see yet help us get through tough times?