Why do this problem?
This task focuses on the creating of shapes and patterns using line segments and the emphasis is on using accurate mathematical language to describe position and orientation. The learners need to listen carefully to follow the instructions they are given or explain clearly and precisely what they do with the lolly sticks.
The task encourages the development of team-building skills such as helping others to do things for themselves, responding to the needs of others, encouraging everybody to help each other and explaining to each other by telling how. (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
A team has four or more members. You may wish to use an adult as an observer.
Before starting this practical activity you might wish to ask each member of the group to draw their design, ready for when they act as designer for the rest of the team. Using squared paper may support the production of more manageable designs.
The focus of attention for the teams is asking, explaining and helping each other. The completion of the task, whilst rewarding for all concerned, is not the main purpose of the activity.
If learners need some support with their positional language, a word list can be found here
When teams have finished working on the task it is important that they spend time discussing in groups, and then as a whole class, how well they worked as a team. They can consider what they have learned from the experience and what they would do differently next time, particularly in terms of how to ask questions and answer them effectively. Your own observations, as well as those of observers,
might inform the discussions.
Were there any questions that someone else asked that you found helpful?
How well did you listen to others in your group?
How easy was it to use the answers to the questions that were asked?
Was there an answer that you found particularly helpful?
Learners may like to try one of the other 'Explaining How' tasks. Other team-building tasks can be found by going to this article
Other team-building tasks can be found by going to this article