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Sprouts for Spring

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathLand)
Description: The game of sprouts has a way of growing on you. This two-person, pencil-and-paper game is simple enough that children can play it. Yet its intricacies provide much food for mathematical thought. The players start with a certain number of dots scattered across a sheet of paper. A move consists of drawing either a line between two dots or a loop starting and ending at the same dot. The player then places an additional dot somewhere along the new line or loop. The line (or loop) may be of any shape, but it must not cross itself, cross a previously drawn line, or pass through a previously made dot. Furthermore, no dot may have more than three lines emanating from it. Hence, a new dot placed on a line actually has two connections already made. Players take turns drawing curves. The winner is the last person able to play.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Games, Articles
Math Topics: Graph Theory, Topology

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