For the first, the goal is to fit the shapes into the large triangle (we made ours pink) in such a way that no shaded squares show through. This was easy, with a tiny bit of help once he had a triangle pushed against the far corner.
We shuffled the pieces and now tried for challenge number two: to fit in the shapes so one pink square remains uncovered. This was trickier, but accomplished with some shifting around. “I did it!” Travis declared.
Hmm, but how is it possible? It turns out the answer lies in the fact that the colored triangle isn’t actually a triangle; it curves slightly, making it a quadrilateral (too much for Travis to comprehend). What I explained to him instead is that the extra area left over in this slight curve is exactly equal to 1 shaded square.
It certainly looked like a little before-school magic!