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'Coordinate Patterns' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
This is one of a series of problems
designed to develop learners' team working skills. Other tasks in
the series can be found by going to this article.
What are you aiming to do?
For the task:
Learners must complete the task themselves but with support
and advice from other members of the team.
As a team:
- helping others to do things for themselves
- responding to the needs of others - everybody helps
- explaining by telling how.
This problem needs a team of four. A fifth person can act as
You need to arrange the desks and some props so that everyone
can see everyone else but no one can see what anyone else is
building. One possibility is for the designer to face the other
three team members and make the design inside a box whilst team
members try to recreate the design behind books or folders used as
You will need graph paper for the designs and then separate
sheets for the team to recreate the designer's image.
Choose someone in the group to be the designer.
If there are five people choose a person to be the
If you try this task more than once, team members should take
turns at playing these roles.
Each person needs to create a design in preparation for acting as
designer. Without making anything visible to anyone else in the
team, each learner draws some axes on graph paper and creates an
image by joining coordinates, or drawing lines.
Tackling the Problem
The designer recreates their image so that it is hidden from
the rest of the team but as s/he makes the design, s/he explains
each step. This needs to include information on axes and scale as
well as coordinates of points and equations of lines. The aim is
for the rest of the team to make a copy of the same design.
Team members can ask questions about the design at any time
and the designer answers in as helpful a way as possible.
When a team member thinks they have a completed design, they
ask the designer to check. If it is right they can then aid the
designer in answering questions. If they do not have the correct
design the task continues.
Remember that all help has to be
given without sight of the enquirer's design.
At any point the task can be brought to an end to discuss the
success of the questioning and answering, and how it helped or
hindered completion of the task.
- How well did the designer explain the process of creation? What
words did they use that were really helpful?
- How clear were the questions the team asked? Can you give an
example of a good question?
- How well were the questions answered? Can you give a good