Morken Madness: March 14th - 18th

Join us the week of March 14 – 18th as the Mathematics and Computer Science departments host special events in celebration of their disciplines. All of the PLU community is invited to attend and participate!

Schedule of Events


Monday, March 14th, 10:30-11am

  • Pies for Pi Day!
    • Drop by the 2nd floor of Morken to get a free individually-wrapped Moon Pie in honor of Pi Day. (While supplies last.)
  • Math Escape Room Challenge
    • Sign up to work solo or in teams (of up to four students) on a digital “escape room” challenge. You’ll need to solve a variety of math puzzles before “escaping.” You have the whole week to work on the challenge, and the first four teams to solve the challenge, get a prize! Scroll down for full instructions.
  • Computer Science Post-it Pixel Project
    • Help us create an image with post-it pixels! The corkboard wall outside of Morken 203 is the canvas for a giant neon Lancelute composed of post-its. It only takes a couple moments to stick the post-its on paper and affix the paper to wall. Anyone can participate and the project will be going on the entire week of Morken Madness. Piece by piece, we’ll see the Lute emerge! Scroll down for full instructions.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2-2:30pm

  • Cipher Challenge
    • Be among the first to decode the cipher text found on the wall outside Morken 203, and you’ll win a prize! Scroll down for full instructions.
  • NatSci Stroll:  “Seeing geology at our doorstep” featuring special guest Associate Professor Peter Davis, PLU Geosciences

Wednesday, March 16th, 10:30-11am

  • Escape Room Check-in Session
    • Professors Tom Edgar and Jessica Sklar are ready to answer your questions about the escape room challenge or check your progress. Meet up with Dr. Edgar in the Espace Rachid Benkhalti (ERB, Morken 233) and with Dr. Sklar on Zoom. Click here to join Dr. Sklar’s Wednesday Zoom check-in.

Thursday, March 17th, 9-9:30am

  • NatSci Stroll: “Working ski patrol or serving donuts for your gap year won’t wreck your life. Considering alternatives to the paradigm that you will go straight into your life’s work right out of college.” with Associate Professor Romey Haberle, Biology

Friday, March 18th, 10:30-11am

  • Learn Paper Folding
    • Join Math Professor Daniel Heath for a lesson on the art and mathematical foundations of paper folding. Learn how to make a pop-up paper house, a Rose Window, a PLU-themed hexaflexagon, and more. In the Espace Rachid Benkhalti (ERB, Morken 233).
  • Lancelute Post-it Mural Photo Session
    • Take a picture in front of the finished giant Lancelute!

Friday, March 18th, 3-4pm

  • STEM Professional Development Workshop: “Cultivating Well-being & Hope in the Midst of Uncertainty”  in Morken 103
    Join a conversation facilitated by Pastor Jen Rude to reflect on questions including, How might we foster and sustain individual and communal well-being when many of us are feeling overwhelmed or stuck? How might we keep moving forward when the future seems so uncertain?  What wisdom can science, spirituality, nature, community, and our own lives offer us?  Bring your experience, questions, wonderings, and an open spirit to this community engaged conversation!


“Escape from the MAA Storage Room”

You find yourself locked inside the MAA Storage Room and must solve a series of six puzzles in order to escape. Working solo or in teams of up to four people, you must navigate the math puzzles, unlock the clues, and solve the room before Friday. The first four teams to escape the room before the clock runs out will receive a $5 coffee card for each person on their team.*

  1. Register your team: email Professor Tom Edgar your name or a list of your team members (you can have up to four people).
  2. Work on the math puzzles. If you get stuck or want to check your progress, drop in on the Escape Room Check-in Session on Wednesday, March 16th. Dr. Edgar will be in-person in the Espace Rachid Benkhalti (ERB, Morken 233) and Dr. Sklar will be online to help virtual participants. Click here to join Dr. Sklar’s Wednesday Zoom check-in.
  3. Submit your solution: email Professor Tom Edgar ( and tell him how you opened “the door.” In order to be eligible for the prizes given to the first four teams, you must email the solution to Dr. Edgar by 10am on Friday, March 18th.

*You don’t have to be a math or computer science major to win.

This virtual escape room appears in the February 2022 edition of Math Horizons – edited by our own Math Professor Tom Edgar! This escape room challenge was composed by MAA Southeastern Section members Julie Barnes, Shih-Wei Chao, Rachel Epstein, Kerri Jamerson, Wei-Kai Lai, Allie Ray, and Laura Steil.


Creating Lancelute with Post-it Pixels

This Computer Science-sponsored project uses post-it “pixels” arranged in a specific pattern to create a PLU-themed wall mural. A giant neon image of PLU’s mascot: Lancelute will cover the wall outside of Morken 203, and we’d love to have your help building it! Printed instructions and supplies can be found on a table outside of Morken 203 during the entire week of Morken Madness. All members of the PLU community are welcome to drop by at any time and assemble a part of the image.

There will be lots of post-its to put up (1,980 to be exact), so we need all hands on deck! Not only is this a great opportunity to learn how pixels are used in computer images, but it’s also a chance to be part of creating a public art project in Morken. See the final image on the last day of Morken Madness week: Friday, March 18th!

Lancelute mascot and rose window


Decoding the Message

The challenge is to use your skills to decode the encrypted text on the big poster outside of Morken 203. The poster will be on display from Tuesday at 10:30am – Friday at 11am.

The first person to decode the cipher and email Professor David Wolff ( with the decrypted text will get $20 in Lute bucks added to their LuteCard. The second person to decode the cipher and email Dr. Wolff will get $10 in Lute bucks, and the third person will receive $5 in Lute bucks.*

*You don’t have to be a math or computer science major to win.