## Update

I’ve expanded this blog post into a 16-page booklet. You can get your free copy here, along with some writing tips for young authors-in-training:

## That’s a Tough One!

What can you do when you are stumped? Too many students sit and stare at the page, waiting for inspiration to strike — and when the solution doesn’t crack their heads open and step out, fully formed, they complain: “Math is too hard!”

So this year I have given my Math Club students a couple of mini-posters to put up on the wall above their desk, or wherever they do their math homework. The first gives four questions to ask yourself as you think through a math problem, and the second is a list of problem-solving strategies.

## Egyptian Math in Hieroglyphs

Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs, a type of picture writing, and in hieratics, which were like a cursive form of hieroglyphs.

Hieroglyphs came first. They were carved in the stone walls of temples and tombs, written on monuments, and used to decorate furniture. But they were a nuisance for scribes, who simplified the pictures and slurred some lines together when they wrote in ink on paper-like papyrus. This hieratic writing — like some people’s cursive today — can be hard to read, so we are only using hieroglyphic numbers on this blog.

Then try writing some hieroglyphic calculations of your own.

Edited to add: The answers to these puzzles (and more) are now posted here.

## To Be Continued…

Read all the posts from the September/October 1998 issue of my Mathematical Adventures of Alexandria Jones newsletter.

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