905tasks placed in schools during June. Around 256,367 placed since the project began in June 1992. |
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In this News you will find: |

Looking Good | Neville's Place | Michael's History |

Puzzle Olympics | A Problem From Kris | SMJ |

Rectangle Nightmare | Upcoming Price Changes |

**Looking Good**

From the email and reprinted here with Anne's permission:I have been having a good look at what is on your site - and am very interested and impressed by the quality. A very exciting discovery for me - made it worth coming to work today!! (It is school holidays over here in NZ!

It is good to know that our work is valuable. More importantly, if reading Anne's note gives you a good feeling about being involved in with this practical hands-on approach to mathematics teaching, then why not share your stories too so that others can benefit in the same way from your enthusiasm.Anne Lawrence

Adviser in Numeracy, Mathematics and NCEA,

Centre for Educational Development Massey University College of Education

Palmerston North, New ZealandAnd also from the email in reference to our sister site Maths300 and printed here with Kristy's permission:

I just wanted you to know that I have found this web site incredibly useful. I have actually been making a problem solving task centre for my Year 9s and I have found heaps of useful ideas in here.

Kristy Graham

Hoppers Crossing Secondary College, Victoria, Australia**Neville's Place**

For almost 30 years, legions of task centre teachers have shown that there is an alternative to text book/ chalk & talk mathematics teaching which can provide the core of happy, healthy, cheerful, productive, inspiring classrooms. But for such a ground swell to develop there has to be a beginning. For Task Centres, that beginning was created by Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Neville de Mestre.In the News last month we reported on Neville's visit to our Distribution Centre. Now passed, it seemed inappropriate to bury that historic visit in the news files, so the

**What Is A Task?**link now makes three references to the history of Neville's contribution.- Early in the text of that page there is link to an article Neville wrote some years ago about the establishment of the first Task Centre. This information is stored on the site of the Mathematical Association of Victoria.
- In the middle of the text there is a link to the information about Neville's June visit to the Task Centre Project almost 30 years after creation of the concept.
- Towards the end of the page there is a link to the Questacon site. The first task centre at Campbell Primary School, ACT, closed after about 17 years operation. Neville 'rescued' his original tasks and donated them to the Questacon Maths Centre. From here, they still travel all over Australia so teachers and students can consider a curriculum shift towards learning to work like a mathematician.

**Michael's History**

It is valuable to remind ourselves of the long history of task centres being chosen by our colleagues because they support better learning experiences for kids. Neville's visit was one such reminder. But what about the work of Michael Richards and the original Task Centre Network? In 1995 Michael presented a 10 year retrospective of this work to the annual conference of the Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV). The MAV has recorded this on their Problem Solving Task Centre site and we have added a permanent link to this important article in the Teacher Stories section of our**Do Tasks Work?**link.**Puzzle Olympics**

How will you use the world-wide focus on the August Olympics to capture students attention in mathematics? One way is to set up a Puzzle Olympics across the school. Read about one way of doing this in the**Integrating Tasks**link on the left. Then, when you have run your own version, send us photos, text, kids' comments etc. so we can update our Puzzle Olympics with even more ideas for 2008.**A Problem From Kris**

Kris Panisilvam has sent the following problem which could easily become a task by using red tiles on a rectangle. He is interested in the number of solutions and at the time he wrote he had found eight. He can be contacted at krisilva@wn.com.au if you would like to discuss the problem. We would also be interested in including any responses on the site.**Red Squares**

A rectangle of six squares is to be coloured so that four of the squares are red. In how many ways can this be done? Note: The following two colourings are the same because one can be rotated to make the other.*Other thoughts:*- In how many ways could the six squares be coloured so that 1 is red?
- In how many ways could the six squares be coloured so that 2 are red?
- In how many ways could the six squares be coloured so that 3 are red?
- In how many ways could the six squares be coloured so that 4 are red?
- In how many ways could the six squares be coloured so that 5 are red?
- In how many ways could the six squares be coloured so that 6 are red?
- Is there a pattern?
- Suppose the original rectangle was made of 2 squares, or 3 squares, or 4 squares, or 5 squares. In how many ways could each case be coloured? Is there a pattern?
- Suppose we interpret the colouring rule in the original problem as meaning 'all except two squares coloured red'. Investigate the 'all except two' rule for different length rectangles.
- What happens if the colouring rule is 'all except one' or 'all except three'? Investigate.

**SMJ: Self-directed Maths Journey**

Tasks have been integrated into a Working Mathematically curriculum in many ways. Various models and structures are included in the**Integrating Tasks**link. The latest to be added is the Self-directed Maths Journey, which, as the name suggests, is designed to encourage independent, self-directed young mathematicians. An exciting additional advantage is the deliberate parallel development of literacy skills as students explore a numeracy environment.**Rectangle Nightmare**

Task 84,*Rectangle Nightmare*, has often been a challenge to students and teachers alike. Eventually we all get the puzzle pieces into the frame, and we even have a go at explaining why extra area appears to fit into the same space. But is there more?? Now you can find out. Detailed information about how this task was created has been added to the**Iceberg Information**link on the left. The source of the information is Geoff Giles, the creator of the puzzle. It is worth a look ... after you struggle with the task.**Upcoming Price Changes**

Work has begun on calculating a new base price for tasks. It takes about 1000 items to make a kit of 100 tasks so the increases our suppliers have added to these components over the past four years have to be juggled before we can reach a fair and equitable price. However a*first pass*calculation suggests an increase of around 60 cents per task, or $60 on a kit of 100 tasks.- If you are budgeting for next year, please allow for an increase.
- If possible, the better approach may be to purchase sooner rather than later.

- Did you miss the June News?

If so you missed information about:- a visit from Neville de Mestre, creator of the Task Centre concept
- Number Day at Thorne Grammar
- additions to the Iceberg Information and Integrating Tasks links
- a message from one teacher about the efficiency of purchasing tasks compared to the time it takes to make them yourself.

Keep smiling,

Doug.

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