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What Makes A Good Resource - Shape Mystery

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 08 September 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 03 September 2010 by ncetm_administrator

What Makes a Good Resource

Shape Mystery

Shape Mystery - resource exampleResource description:
“Properties of Shape Mystery” is one of 8 Mathematical Mysteries written by the Durham Local Education Authority. Students are given a set of 15 cards with various shape properties written on them and are asked to complete a 3 x 3 grid using the cards to decide which shape is in which square of the grid. 

Teacher comment:
I chose this resource as I wanted students to work cooperatively in pairs, make and amend decisions to solve a problem in an unfamiliar context.  I wanted students to discuss their work with each other. I used this resource as a plenary activity after teaching properties of shapes to a group of year 7 students. 
What I did:
I explained that the aim of this activity was:
  • To work cooperatively in pairs
  • To discuss their work with each other
  • To solve an unfamiliar problem
  • To persist with an activity and not give up at the first hurdle
I handed out the 15 cards and a 3 x 3 grid to each pair and then told them to work cooperatively to solve the mystery. I explained that I was not going to help them in solving the task. 
What happened:
Students started off very positively and most identified very quickly that the shape in the top left hand corner had to be an equilateral triangle. Although I said I was not going to help them in my initial brief I did actually have to suggest to a few pairs of students that they could start by identifying the shapes they thought might be in the grid on a separate piece of paper.  Some pairs of students solved the task quickly therefore it is necessary to have a short extension task readily available.  I asked them whether their solution was unique, could they re-create a similar mystery themselves. Others did not get to complete the task. 
I felt the objectives were met.  Students found creating a mystery themselves very challenging and I think this was an excellent opportunity for differentiation, even though that I hadn’t planned it to be so at the start of the task. 
Secondary Resources
What makes a good resources - using the materials

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18 May 2014 19:23
This is really good investigation. Would be better if the resource was linked. Never mind, here it is. http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/resource/5382/properties-of-shape-mystery

My year 6's are going to do it. I will let you know how it went with the 'create your own' extension
By dkat83
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