The Week 2 blogging challenge is “My Favourite”. (You can find my Week 1 blog post here.) Now, I presented a “My Favourite” back at ‘Twitter Math Camp 2013’ - namely Unit Circle Estimations (for Trig). I’ve also droned on a bit about teaching the Sine Law. Those are more traditional topic centred posts, but I’m still feeling subversive, so let’s use this one to talk about this number puzzle I got at OAME 2013 instead.
I'll pause to give you a moment to scroll though all those other lessons and recaps I threw at you. Do I link too much? I probably link too much.
|Here is the puzzle.|
The premise is simple enough. Fit all the numbers flat into the box provided. Note that the conference was in Toronto, hence the CN Tower in the logo. I don’t recall if everyone who attended that PD conference got one of these, or if it was something related to the fact that I presented there (Musical Mathematics - I’ve parodied 30 songs). But the puzzle has been surprisingly popular this semester! Does it fit into the curriculum? I don’t know.
Presumably, it’s got some spatial reasoning associated with it. After all, the only way to make the pieces fit is to create a full lattice, with no gaps or spaces. (In the image below, look in the lower right corner.) Now, if you think about it a bit longer, you might realize that symmetry is a useful tool. (For instance, lock the ‘7’ in with the ‘1’ - looks a bit like a ‘4’...)
|What it looks like on my desk this week.|
I simply keep the puzzle on my desk at the back of the room, and students (Grade 11 students) who are finished work early or want a bit of a break can play around with it. I have sets of puzzle cards on my desk too, but for whatever reason, this is the popular thing. It started the semester fully assembled, when a couple guys would time each other for the fastest to assemble it.
Eventually, it spent well over a month fully disassembled, as people toyed with it and couldn't put it back together. One student wondered if there was a way to get/make her own. I had a teacher in my room for an on-call ask me about it the following day. I even played around with it a bit once, while catching up on “Supergirl” (while procrastinating from catching up on marking). There’s only been one casualty, the tip of the ‘5’ (2?) fell off - a student glued it back on.
|"How does it work? I MUST KNOW!"|
So there you go - the favourite thing that has nothing to do with instruction. Though "a game your students love to play" was an option, so maybe I'm not as subversive as I think. Related, perhaps I should bring in a tangram next semester.
If you enjoyed reading this, I’m all about the writing. Feel free to check out some of my other posts:
-How Teaching Is Different
-Meet Lissa Jous, over at my math webcomic.