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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This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.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

# Shape Mystery

Resource 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.

Reflection:
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.

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