Famous MathematiciansTask 135 ... Years 4  10SummaryUsing the popular context of a word find puzzle students become familiar with the names and life span of 18 historic mathematicians. They discover that some are male and some are female and that there have been famous mathematicians in many centuries. From here students are encouraged to research more deeply into the life of one from the list. The bigger challenge is to find names and details of three mathematicians alive today. 
Materials
Content

IcebergA task is the tip of a learning iceberg. There is always more to a task than is recorded on the card. 
We would not expect students to become authors without knowing something of the life and work of famous writers. Similarly if students are learning to work like a mathematician, then it is especially appropriate to come into contact with the lives and work of professionals in the field. This task starts that process. The solution to the word find is: One way of extending the task is to challenge students to calculate the age of each listed mathematician.

Whole Class InvestigationTasks are an invitation for two students to work like a mathematician. Tasks can also be modified to become whole class investigations which model how a mathematician works. 
The word puzzle can easily become a class activity by first recreating the word find board using the table making tool of a word processor. Include the names on the same page. Print a copy for each pair of students and ask them to try the puzzle. Display the same word finder on the Interactive White Board. As names are found students 'cross them out' on the whiteboard. There are 18 names to find so try to give each pair a chance to cross off at least one on the board. Use the exercise to begin a discussion of current knowledge of these people  emphasise people  and to encourage thought about what their lives may have been like.
Teachers could also include this investigation in a regular Mathematician's Friday, an idea illustrated by the work of Catherine La Franchi and staff of St. Vincent de Paul Primary School. Maths300 Lesson 124, Famous Mathematicians uses the faces and names of six famous mathematicians as collectable cards distributed as a promotional give away in Pythagoras Popcorn. In this context, the investigation shifts to the time it is likely to take to collect a complete set. An additional underlying purpose of this lesson is to explore how a mathematician applies the strategy of make a model to a reallife situation. The lesson includes information that can readily be turned into posters of each mathematician. Of course, the information from the students research as described above could also be the source of the posters and cards that stimulate this lesson. 
Is it in Maths With Attitude?Maths With Attitude is a set of handson learning kits available from Years 310 which structure the use of tasks and whole class investigations into a week by week planner. 
The Famous Mathematicians task is an integral part of:
The Famous Mathematicians lesson is an integral part of:
