Outdoor Roman Stick Puzzles

‘Matchstick puzzles‘ were popular in my youth, but I don’t recall seeing them around anymore.

I recently showed my son some of them, but we adapted them in a few ways:

• Firstly, we didn’t use matches (we didn’t have any!) – we made our own sticks.
• Secondly, since we were making our own sticks I decided we could make the whole thing a little larger than normal.
• Thirdly, my son, David, had been working on Roman numbers last term in school, so I found (and we also created) some stick puzzles with Roman Numerals.

Here are some of the puzzles we tried:

IX + VI = III

This is 9 + 6 = 3, which is clearly wrong. However, moving just one stick will make it correct. Can you find which one to move?

We’re not going to give the answers for the following two puzzles:

Move one stick to make this correct

IV = IV – I

What is the smallest number of sticks you need to move to make this correct

I – III = II

It was fun trying to solve them and the fact that we could move the sticks around meant we could try lots of different ideas without worrying about being wrong.

We’ve put 6 of our favourite Roman Numeral puzzles (and all of the answers) into a pdf document, you can download it here:

You can find more varieties of ‘matchstick’ puzzles on the puzzle.com website.

[image credit: puzzles.com]