Consider how many ways we can arrange the hexagons around centre. We have 6 choices for the first hexagon, then 5 choices left for the second hexagon, then 4 choices, then 3, then 2 and finally 1. To calculate how many ways to arrange the seven hexagons we multiply our choices together, so this number is 6×5×4×3×2×1 = 720.
This puzzle is called the Circus Seven, as the colourful hexagons look a bit like circus tents. At first this puzzle may seem very difficult, but most possibilities can be quickly rejected, leaving only a few possibilities to check.
This puzzle is similar to a Rubik Cube because there are a lot of possibilities, but only one correct answer. Both puzzles are applications of combinatorics.
Maths at Home
Colour in this hexagon and make your own honeycomb puzzle at home.
The honeycomb puzzle is sometimes called Circus Seven. Here are some instructions to make an origami version of the puzzle:
Here are some variations of the puzzle. Try them yourself. Do you think they are harder, easier, or the same as before?
And this variation is called Circus Puzzler: