Aims and objectives
This is a problem solving activity based on the traditional ‘foxes
and chickens’ conundrum where pupils are encouraged not only
to solve the problem using a variety of permutations but also to
try and work out the underlying mathematics.
Previous knowledge
This is a ‘logic’ problem solving game so no prior learning
is needed however for pupils to solve the mathematics then a basic
understanding of algebra would be helpful.
In the classroom
This activity is based on the traditional foxes and chickens conundrum.
The student has to solve the problem of transporting a set of young
and adult monkeys from one side of the river to the other using
a floating log. The log, however, can only hold one adult or up
to two young monkeys at any one time.
Once the initial activity has been completed, feedback is provided
on the number of trips taken which is then compared to the minimum
number required. The student can then elect to play again to improve
upon the number of trips taken or change the combination of monkeys
to make the problem solving more complex. They can do this by clicking
on the 'Set Puzzle' button.
At the end of each problem there is a prompt to encourage the student
to try and work out the mathematics behind the activity. The pupil
can then change the number of monkeys to test their hypothesis.
There are hints provided to help the student work out how many trips
'n' monkeys would take (the answer is also available if needed).
Used with an interactive whiteboard in a whole class or large group
situation, stimulating and lively debate can ensue which provides
a useful insight into pupils’ approaches to problem solving.
Support materials description: 
Resources type: 
The crossing_the_river.pdf contains a set of graphics
(background, seven large and ten small monkeys) which can be
printed off onto stiff paper or card. This can be laminated
and the pictures cut out to create a permanent deskbased version
of the activity. 
crossing_the_river.pdf 
Curriculum references
Mathematics – KS3:
Ma2: 1a, i, j, k
Ma2: 5a, b, d
