Copyright © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.
There are two sets of cards for this problem, one using the words 'IF' and 'IF AND ONLY IF' , and the other using implication arrows .
Why do this problem ?
Learning to write mathematical statements clearly and simply is one of the most important skills that a mathematician needs to learn. In order to do this, a mathematician needs to have a clear understanding of the logical flow 'IF something is true, THEN something else is true'. This problem
gives practice in this
process. It could be accessed at any point from advanced stage 3 to stage 5 and will really help to sharpen up the students' written mathematics.
The interactivity lends itself to a group approach. It is important that students are given the opportunity to talk about their logical statements and to try to explain their answers verbally. To do this, you might ask someone to suggest an answer to a line in the card-sorter and then ask for feedback on whether others agree or disagree. There are multiple possible ways in which certain
cards can be matched.
- Which cards have a good chance of fitting with other cards?
- Can you explain why your logic holds for each correct answers?
The cards have been chosen so that the completed statements are 'obviously' true. Good students might be encouraged to think more about WHY the statements are true. Can they give a strong argument or proof?
Extension work of a similar type is provided in the question Contrary Logic
. Activities extending the 'proof' theme are given in Direct Logic
Rather than attempt to fill in all of the boxes, students could try to make just a selection of true statements.
You might start by discussing these statements:
If my team wins the world cup tomorrow then I'll be happy tomorrow.
If I am happy tomorrow then my team will win the world cup tomorrow.
If I am not happy tomorrow then my team will not win the world cup tomorrow.
If my team does not win the world cup tomorrow then I will not be happy tomorrow.
If this is maize then it grew from a seed
If this grew from a seed then it is maize
If this did not grow from a seed then it is not maize
If this is not maize then it did not grow from a seed
If Rover is a dog then Rover is an animal
If Rover is not an animal then Rover is not a dog
If Rover is not a dog then Rover is an animal
If Rover is an animal then Rover is a dog