# TEACHER S GUIDE TO RUSH HOUR

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3 Challenge cards for all versions of Rush Hour Name: Railroad Rush Hour and Safari Rush Hour include 10 extra cards labeled Junior 1 to Junior 10. Ignore these cards for Rush Hour 1 4 and Rush Hour Jr. Puzzle Solved? Comments, hints Junior 1 Junior 2 Junior 3 Junior 4 Junior 5 Junior 6 Junior 7 Junior 8 Junior 9 Junior 10 Puzzle Solved? Comments, hints Puzzle Solved? Comments, hints Rush Hour Teacher s Guide Draft, June Scott Kim, 40

5 SCRAMBLE Game for 2 students on 2 boards This game involves students in creating their own Rush Hour challenges. Two players each start with identical boards and pieces. You can use any version of Rush Hour Rush Hour, Rush Hour Jr., Railroad Rush Hour or Safari Rush Hour as long as both boards are identical. 1. Setup. Start by placing the escape vehicle at the exit on one board. Ignore the other board for the moment. The two players take turns placing additional pieces on the board until it is fairly full, say 8 to 12 pieces. Copy the position on the other board, so both boards have the same opening position. For instance, the opening positions might be: 2. Scramble. From these identical positions, both players slide pieces around on their boards, trying to make a puzzle that is as hard as possible to solve. After one minute (or other time limit) players freeze their positions. For instance, the two players might scramble their boards like this: 3. Race. Players exchange boards. Both players, starting at the same time, try to solve the puzzle they were given. The first player to solve their puzzle wins. Note that both puzzles are guaranteed to be solvable, since they were constructed by scrambling a legal ending position. Working backwards this way works in Rush Hour because moves are reversible. At the end of the game ask students to describe to the other student what they were thinking when they set the pieces as they did. This way students learn to verbalize their thinking, and learn from other students. Rush Hour Teacher s Guide Draft, June Scott Kim, , 5

6 Strategy 1: WORKING BACKWARDS Here is a strategy you can show students who want to improve their game. In Rush Hour, as in life, we are often faced with situations where it is hard to figure out what to do next, but it is easy to identify what must happen last. In these cases working backwards is a good strategy. Try this technique to help you solve Rush Hour puzzles. Now set up a starting position with just the cars highlighted in your diagram. See if you can solve this problem. Choose a challenge card that you have not yet solved. Sketch a diagram on paper of the starting position. Here is the starting position from challenge 11 from Rush Hour. If the puzzle is too hard, remove pieces at the end of your chain of reasoning. If it is too easy, add pieces to the end of the chain. Here we added one more piece. Highlight the last piece that must move before the escape vehicle can exit the board. By solving this puzzle we learn that the escape car must first get to this intermediate position before it can exit the board. Draw a line from the last piece to the piece (or pieces) that must move in order for the last piece to move. You can also work forwards. Draw a line from the escape vehicle to the piece (or pieces) that blocks its escape. Then draw a line from that piece to pieces that block that piece s movement. Continue until you reach a loop or a dead end. Then draw a line from that previous piece to whatever piece (or pieces) must move for the previous piece to to move. Continue drawing lines to blocking pieces several steps further if you can. Then try solving the puzzle that uses just the highlighted pieces. How can your insights from solving this subproblem help you solve the original problem? Rush Hour Teacher s Guide Draft, June Scott Kim, , 6

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11 LEARNING FROM RUSH HOUR Big open-ended discussion questions Strategic thinking. Play other sequential thinking puzzles and games, and compare the strategies you use to the ones in Rush Hour. Lunar Lockout, Compare Rush Hour and Lunar Lockout. What is different and what is the same? Why are Lunar Lockout puzzles so much shorter than Rush Hour puzzles of the same difficulty? How well do Rush Hour strategies apply to Lunar Lockout? Can you invent a new game that blends rules from both games? Other puzzles. Compare Rush Hour with other sliding piece puzzles (such as the 15 puzzle), and other sequential thinking puzzles (such as Hoppers or FlipIt). What is different and what is the same? How well do Rush Hour strategies apply to these other puzzles? Some of these games have reversible moves, some do not. How does that make a difference? Game strategy. Try applying Rush Hour strategies apply to games of strategy such as chess or checkers. How is playing chess similar to or different from solving a Rush Hour puzzle? Apply strategies to other situations. Applying what you have learned to other situations is one of the best ways to make it your own. Mathematics. Discuss ways that solving puzzles like Rush Hour is similar to solving problems in mathematics, such as algebra or word problems. Writing. Mysteries, with their complicated tangled plots, are much like puzzles. Read a mystery novel and diagram who knows what at each point in the story. How do you think mystery writers plot their plots? Planning a trip. When you plan a trip, you often have to work backwards in order to make sure you can get everything done before you leave. How else do Rush Hour strategies apply to everyday planning? Classifying puzzles. These questions further develop a critical understanding of problem solviing skills. Compare puzzles. Which puzzles are best for developing which types of problem solving skills? Classify puzzles using Venn diagrams. List 20 types of puzzles. Decide on 3 or 4 attributes for classifying puzzles. Sort the puzzles into categories using a Venn diagram. Find existing types of puzzles or invent new types of puzzles for categories with no members. Rush Hour Teacher s Guide Draft, June Scott Kim, , 11

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