Students rise to the challenge in 2nd annual Mole Day Puzzle Hunt

While many know about Pi Day on March 14, not many know about Mole Day, which is celebrated annually on October 23. The holiday honors the mole, the International System of Units (SI) unit of particles in a substance, where one mole is equal to 6.02 x 10^23 atoms.

Similar to the Pi Day tradition, Mole Day at RM is accompanied by a week long puzzle hunt where teams have the opportunity to solve eight puzzles and compete for the grand prize of a $40 Chipotle gift card. “I’m just a person who likes solving puzzles, so this is an opportunity to get together with other people who think the same way and figure things out,” junior Kevin Lu said.

While the puzzle hunt took place the week of October 23, the organization process began much earlier. Seniors Naveen Raman, William Liu, Andrew Mao, and Thomas Del Vecchio began the process a month and a half before the hunt. “We first planned out how many of each puzzle we wanted to do between biology, physics, and chemistry and the question formats, like phone call or picture,” Del Vecchio described.

Students could register teams of up to four members. No sharing of information was allowed between teams. Hints were emailed out at 11:15 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. each day. When a team found the answer to one puzzle, they would enter their response into an online grader system, a new addition this year, which would return a website, teacher, room number, or locker where the next puzzle could be found. “The most enjoyable part was the way they took you to different locations, which made it interactive,” freshman Arushi Singh said.

After a intense week of puzzle-solving, team “naveen sux,” made up of juniors Kevin Lu, Jeffrey Tran, Grant Yang, and Daniel Yang, were crowned as the winners at the closing ceremony on October 27th.

Surprisingly, they were the sole team to finish all eight puzzles, although team “one in a mol-lion,” made up of juniors Sherry Liang, Michelle Ling, Clarissa Xia, and Lauren Zhou, received an honorable mention for being the only other team to reach the final puzzle.

Even though most of the teams did not complete all eight puzzles, participants still enjoyed the logical challenge the puzzles offered and the perseverance and research required to complete them. “The whole thing about puzzles is that they don’t tell you what to do, so you have to figure it out yourself. We would spent a lot of time staring at the puzzle to get an end result that made sense,” Lu explained.

Overall, the Mole Day hunt was a success, and students eagerly look forward to future ones.

Featured photo courtesy of Michelle Ling.

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