The Take a Penny Problem

The Take a Penny Problem – addition through subtraction.

In The Take a Penny Problem, you begin with five pennies in your possession. You place them on a table. Doesn’t matter how; just lay them out.

fivepenniesJust lay the fuckers anywhere, why don’t you.

Alright, you have five pennies – or five identical objects, preferably circular objects with a little weight. Once you’ve laid them out, arrange them to make two lines: place the first penny wherever you’d like, then place one beside it, then place another at a 90 degree angle, so that any pennies added to the row will never intersect with the other row. Now, place two pennies after the line along the x axis (horizontal) and then place one penny along the y (vertical) axis so that you have two rows of pennies. One row has three and one row has two.

pennieslistsBelieve it or not, I used Photoshop for this hunk of shit.

The problem: with your pennies so laid out, you will have a row of three along the x axis and a row of two along the y axis. To solve the problem, you must make one move and create two rows of three. The proviso here is to assume that each penny is of equal value in adding or subtracting from the horizontal and vertical rows and that they retain the same value when they’re moved. As far as I know, this problem has a simple solution. Despite this, I’ve put this question to dozens of people, students, friends, and unwitting family members.

Now, with one move you are to create two rows of three, the in a row on each axis, If you can’t figure it out, click here for the resolution. 


Published by

Brandon K. Nobles

Brandon is an author, poet and head writer for Sir Swag on YouTube. With 630k subscribers. Since February 2021 he has written for the most important and popular series, News Without the Bulls%!t and the least popular work on the channel, History Abridged. Brandon joined the channel in late January, since then his work has been featured every month in News and History. His novels and works of fiction have also been well received, and he continues to be a proficient and professional chess player. In his spare time he like to catch up on work.

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