A Jacked-Up House

September 18, 2014

Have you ever tried to build a house of cards using a deck of playing cards? Stacking cards is tricky business: you have to stand some of those skinny rectangles up on their edges and lean them against each other before they fall over. Then you rest other cards flat on top and build a new “story” above that, hoping the new cards don’t take the whole house down. Well, an architecture group decided to make a giant house of cards the size of a real building. They used regular building materials to make it strong, but painted the pieces to look like playing cards — and better yet, they built lights into the pieces so the cards flash at night. We’re not sure whether a person could make a house of playing cards this shape that wouldn’t fall over, but luckily this giant one is glued and bolted together.

Wee ones: Playing cards have different shapes to show what “suit” they are: diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. How many different shapes is that?

Little kids: For any suit, like diamonds, there’s a card for each number from 2 to 10, plus an ace (which is like a 1), a king, a queen and a jack. How many cards does each suit have in total?  Bonus: If the 1st floor of this house has 10 cards along one wall, including 2 cards with spades, 3 with diamonds and 1 with clubs, how many heart cards does that wall have?

Big kids: The 1st floor of the house appears to have 10 cards on each of the 2 long zigzag walls, and 6 cards on each of the short walls. How many cards do the 1st floor walls have?  Bonus: If each floor has 4 fewer wall cards than the level below it, how many wall cards do the 4 floors have all together?

The sky’s the limit: Suppose that the first level uses all the diamond cards from 2 to 10, and 3 of those cards flash at night; that together those 3 cards have 16 diamonds painted on them; and only the middle card of the three (by value) is an even number. How many possible sets of 3 flashing cards can there be?