Why do this problem?
encourages learners to ensure all members of the team participate,
share their reasoning, listen to each other's opinions and reflect
on the outcome. 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
The task is designed to
work with teams of four, taking it in turns to be the
Using a fifth person as
an observer means that feedback can be very specific and works well
either using another learner or an adult.
The aim is for the team
to discuss and agree before selecting any card to be tested by the
Ruler. Does the function obey the rule on the chosen rule
are the function
for the team and Ruler can be used to focus the learners'
attentions on the main aims of the task.
One of the roles of the
Observer is to check discussion takes place before a decision is
made and that the Ruler only responds if they feel everyone has
contributed to the decision. Guideline cards for the Observer 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 listen to each other and
ensure that all members of the team participate. Your own
observations, as well as those of observers, might inform the
- Was there a choice of house to test that was particularly
- Were there any ideas that proved really helpful?
- How well did you listen to others in your group?
- How did you ensure that everyone had a chance to
Learners may like to try
one of the other 'Guess the rule' tasks, which can be found by
going to this
You may wish to give a
copy of all, or a selection, of the rule cards and function cards
to the team so they have a list of possible rules. There are a set
of cards with just quadratic functions in this
team-building tasks can be found by going to this article