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Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.


Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that share their sides.

Little Boxes

How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?

World of Tan 14 - Celebrations

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This activity follows on from World of Tan 13 - A Storm in a Tea Cup.

The evening meal has just finished and the children are tidying everything away. Among the clatter of crockery and cutlery being washed and dried, Granma T looks at Little Fung and Little Ming quizzically.

Granma T: Aren't your penfriends from the International school coming to stay soon?

Before allowing either Little Fung or Little Ming to answer, she continues:

Granma T: We haven't made any preparations at all for this visit, just what are we going to do with them?

Little Ming: But Granma, Leo and Leone won't be here for ages, their school holiday doesn't start until about December 23rd. We have plenty of time to get things ready for them.

Little Fung, who was eager to get back to playing Luk tsut k'i: Yes, we've got loads of time.

Granma T: No! If this visit is to be a success, we must plan and prepare very carefully. Leo and Leone are making a huge sacrifice at this time of year to come and visit you two. Back home in their own country they would make quite a celebration of this holiday.

Later on in the evening, Little Fung, who had lost again to Little Ming at Luk tsut k'i, was bored and began to think aloud about Leo and Leone...

Little Fung: They'd be celebrating Christmas if they were back in England... I wonder what's so special for them about that holiday?

Little Ming: They might just as well be Muslim or Jewish children, or Hindus for that matter. Not all British people celebrate Christmas. I think we should ask them what they'd like to do.

Granma T: You're right, we must do all that we can to make their stay with us a happy and worthwhile one. We must plan and prepare, we must ask for the help of the others...

In the meantime, complete the silhouettes using the interactivity below.

Extra activities:

  • Estimate how much time in minutes there is before your next school holiday starts. Once you've made your estimate, calculate this amount of time accurately. How close was your estimate?
  • Research different religions and find out about some important celebrations in these religions.

The story continues in World of Tan 15 - Millennia.