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The Muddy City: Minimal Spanning Trees

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    Computer Science Unplugged

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The Muddy City: Minimal Spanning Trees

In this puzzle, learners investigate the decisions involved in linking a network between houses in a muddy city. It can lead on to a discussion of minimal spanning tree algorithms for optimizing networks. Additional activities, background information, and solutions are included, beginning on page 4 of the PDF.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation

English, French, Italian, Portuguese

Materials List (per student)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Computer Science
      • Information Systems
    • Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
      • Transportation
      • Construction
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Number and Operations
      • Number Systems
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology

Informal Categories

  • Computers
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Bell, Tim; Witten, Ian; Fellows, Mike; Adams, Robyn; McKenzie, Jane


Funding Sources:

  • Brian Mason Scientific and Technical Trust
  • Google Inc.


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail CATS by rmerton on 2012-06-28
  • Thumbnail math by on 2016-08-21