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News

Current News

In this edition of the News you will find:

Red Square  Professor Morris Puzzles

Red Square  Maths At Home Update

Red Square  Block Up Your Storeroom

Red Square  Get to Know a Cameo
     ... How Many Squares?
     ... Surface Area with Tricubes

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  • Professor Morris Puzzles

    A brand new edition of a much-loved resource. Slides and posters supported by the freely available teachers' resource booklet Introducing Professor Morris (see Link List below).

    Slides, posters and booklet including:
    • background
    • detailed lesson plan for a Poster Problem Clinic
    • answers
    • links to Task Centre challenges
    • questions to generate digging deeper into each puzzle

    A digitally delivered package for just $22.
    (See Link List below for order form).

    The overarching purpose of the puzzles is to generate mathematical conversation (maths talk) in the context of learning to work like a mathematician. Motivation is stimulated through CARtoon drawings, rhyming verse, challenge and working in community. The community might be a partner, a small group, the class, or with the family as maths around the kitchen table. Of course some will want to work on their own. 

    Every puzzle is a starting point, not an end point, and the teacher is provided with Start Talking questions to help learners explore each iceberg.

    For example, in Puzzle 50 Professor Morris makes it quite clear that there is something to investigate in a pile of newspapers like this:

    This is the stack delivered to one Victorian outlet for July 2021. The masthead displays this little number:

    which is the independently audited, average monthly circulation for Victoria (print run) in the previous six months. A check of the publisher's web site and a phone call revealed that the national figure is 446,892 across the six states.
    (The paper is not available in the Northern Territory.)

    What mathematical questions might you ask based on this information?

    Professor Morris starts with just one, which is a significant investigation in itself. The Start Talking questions provided in Introducing Professor Morris, then extend learning much further. Consult with colleagues and it could turn out that the Professor's question leads to a school wide integrated, cross-curriculum learning unit anywhere up to Year 8.

  • Maths At Home Update

    No new activities this month due to the work on Professor Morris. However the activity Pattern Charts (Years 2 - 6) is based on PM Puzzle 1 and it has been revised and extended as part of that work. Corrections, additional ideas and new investigation guides. You might like to have a look at it.

    • Take the Learners link from the Home Page in the Link List below and scroll down or search the name.
    • Alternatively go directly to Pattern Charts from the Link List below.

    While you're there, Four Odd Numbers (Years 2 - 8) is based on PM 23 and The Farmer's Puzzle (Years 4 - 10) is based on PM 49. Perhaps you will want to have a look at these too.

  • Block Up Your Storeroom

    Birsin contacted from Tassie a couple of weeks ago asking about obtaining coloured wooden cubes. She said she had several schools who were interested.

    These are a multi-useful, flexible resource that have a place in every primary and secondary maths storeroom. They are particularly useful to anyone creating their own Task Library from the eTask Pack. They are available only from Kembo-Cuisenaire who have an on-line shop as part of their site. Search 'cubes' in the box near the top right, then scroll for the result.

    Kembo's craftsmanship is superb and the cost ($21 per 100) is minimal. See Link List below for more information about usefulness and a link to their site.

  • Get to Know a Cameo

    Task 108, How Many Squares?
    Every child is used to putting four Size 1 squares together to make a Size 2 square, then the Size 3 and so on. A multiplication (power of 2) pattern develops when you count the number of Size 1 squares used in each build ... 1 x 1, 2 x 2, 3 x 3 ... However the tweak in this problem is to count all the size squares used in each build. So in the Size 2 case, there are four Size 1 and one Size 2.

    Success is being able to count all squares in some sizes bigger than Size 2. Greater success is being able to organise that counting as the Size grows. Even greater success comes when the patterns that develop encourage learners to attempt the challenge:

    • If I tell you any Size square, can you tell me how many squares altogether within it?

    That question places this easy to state, easy to start problem right in the middle of senior high school mathematics - difference tables, sums of squares, cubic functions.

    In the eTask Package this task is in the 'easy to make' set because most schools have collections of square plastic tiles. You could even use 2cm wooden cubes, perhaps because they are easier to pick up.

    Task 193, Surface Area with Tricubes
    The volume of any 4-Tricube creation is always 12 cubes, but the surface area and base area (footprint) will vary. The task card begins by defining these measurements using just one Tricube, then encourages students to make their own objects and find their surface and base areas, before reversing the situation by giving particular measurements and challenging students to recreate the object they came from.

    Recording creations and solutions is a perfect opportunity for learning and practising the skills of 3D drawing on isometric paper.

    The cameo notes provide a clear framework for using the task to highlight the process of working like a mathematician. They also include great photos of student work with Tricubes and some excellent extension questions that develop from them.

    In the eTask Package this task is in the 'special' set because it needs the Tricubes. If you have them already then the task is easy to make. If not, then this task is a perfect example of why you need 2cm wooden cubes in the storeroom; in this case in four colours.

Keep smiling,
Doug.
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Link List

  • Did you miss the Previous News?
    If so you missed information about:
    1. Do Your Bit For Vaccing
    2. Corresponding With Danielle
    3. Maths At Home Update
    4. Get to Know a Cameo
      ... Soma Cube 2, Eureka

Did You Know?

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