Foster a culture of thinking by focusing on problem solving in the classroom.

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Math Game Homepage - Coin Over the Glass

Mathematical Problem Solving
(an old drinking game that really is problem solving)

educational problem solving

Task - Using only your breath you must blow the coin so that it goes over the top of the glass ie it doesn't land in the glass or on the table.

You may not touch the glass or coin and you may use nothing but your breath.


- a beer glass if in a bar
- a plastic cup for the classroom
- a small coin - (5 cents)


1. Set the coin and cup up on a table so that your whole group can see it.
2. Balance the coin on the edge of the glass.
3. Outline the task to your students (or drinking buddies) hehehehe.
4. Ask for victims/volunteers to come up and have a go at blowing the coin across the to of the glass.
5. Children break to pairs with their own equipment to solve the problem.


- It can be done!
- Perseverence is needed!
- Frustration will probably occur.
- If someone whinges, 'I can't do it, get them to hang up this motivational poster.
- Insist that the students must discover the secret of the task and be able to replicate it.
- After a while, draw a diagram that shows the direction of air coming from your mouth.
- Brainstorm variables - how you hold your lips, force of air coming out of your mouth, where to blow & where not to blow.
- Encourage the children to have their parents do the task.
- Get the kids to use there own coins or use this as a trust exercise :)

Teachable Moments:

- Seize the 'a-ha' feeling that the kids get when they experience success.
- Life is hard but you will not succeed if you give up.
- The mark of a person is what they do after they fail for the 4th, 5th & 6th times.
- Think problems through. What can I do differently this time?


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