Why do this
There is a variety of ways to approach
. Some children will need a couple of blank cubes
to write on and try out their ideas. Others will need the visual
prompt of the cubes but record on paper. Others still will not use
the cubes at all, interpreting the information and making it into a
logic problem. The discussions about which methods worked for which
child can be very fruitful.
Display a couple of large dice (dots or numerals will do) and
ask the children to say the numbers which are represented by
placing them next to each other - 66, 23 etc. Ask what the largest
number could be, and the smallest.
Then pose the problem and allow some time for the children to
'get into' it, bringing them back after a short time to share what
they have found out or know already and how they are beginning to
When several children have found solutions, ask them to check
with each other whether they are the same. Bring the group back
together and spend some time asking different children to explain
their thinking. Draw attention to the similarities and differences
between the methods. Was there one method that was the most elegant
or were they all pretty good? Keen children could then make the
cubes and a dodecahedron to complete their calendar.
What is the largest number we need to display? The
Are there any numerals we need lots of times?
Are there numerals we only need once?
The problem as it is posed is a closed question. The making of
the cubes offers some room for additional challenge as there will
be some children who will have solved the problem but will not be
particularly dextrous when making the finished objects.
Offer all children blank cubes and sticky paper to label the
sides. Many will realise they actually don't need the cubes but can
work out the solution by rearranging the bits of paper into two
piles. Working in pairs can be more fruitful than working alone.