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What Makes A Good Resource - Placing Numbers

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.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

Placing Numbers

Placing numbers - resource exampleResource description:
This game is a simple number placement exercise. The students draw out a grid of 8 boxes and place the answer to a series of randomly generated products into a box each time.

A spreadsheet is used to generate these products.

The aim is to end up with all eight entries arranged in numerical order in the grid. If the student gets to a stage where a number can’t be placed In order then the game ends.

Students play this game in pairs.

Download the resource (Excel)
Teacher comment:
I like this activity because it not only involves my students in practising their multiplication facts but also encourages skills of estimation, discussion of relative sizes of calculations and probability. The nature of the task emphasises strategic thinking, reasoning and decision making.

What I did:
I explained that I was going to show them a calculation and invite them to place the answer in one of the 8 boxes in their grid. My students really liked the challenge of trying to fill all of the 8 boxes with a sequence of increasing numbers and I allowed them to play the game two or three times without much input.

We then played the game again but I encouraged some discussion this time about why certain numbers were placed where they were. An interesting discussion arose when the spreadsheet generated the calculation 7 × 7 and I noticed that most of the class had placed the 49 centrally in their 8 cell grid and we discussed why this was so. I felt that this would be a good moment to introduce the probability element by thinking about the sample space of outcomes.

Placing numbers - resource example

….. and I encouraged them to think about how likely getting a 49 would be and also the probability of other numbers.

I then got all the students to draw out their own sample diagram and to consider it as they played another round of the game. As the round wore on and fewer students were left in, I asked those students who were still ‘in’ which outcomes they could get in the next go so that they would still be able to place the number and we discussed the probability of doing this by referring to the sample space diagram.
I found the use of this resource interesting, not least because it highlighted just how frequently resources have worth beyond what they are originally designed for. Often the resource’s ‘hidden’ uses only become apparent as students respond to them in the classroom and some incident (e.g. a student’s comment, question or response, or a teacher ‘light-bulb’ moment) draws it out.

Secondary Resources
What makes a good resources - using the materials

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15 October 2016 18:43
Click on the cell and type

- =RAND() then press ENTER for random decimals, you can then drag this down for as many numbers as you want


Click on a cell, type =RANDBETWEEN(1,50) then press ENTER, you can drag thses down too. (In the bracket you put the min and max the random number can be).
By annabagi
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19 August 2014 20:33
Thank you both!
By siantyers
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19 August 2014 19:20
Press the F9 key I think? :)
By Sue_Madgwick
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19 August 2014 19:20
Press F9 to generate a new random number

And it is a lovely activity - one of my favourites!
By richard
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19 August 2014 19:11
Looks good but can someone tell me how you make the excell spreadsheet generate random numbers?
By siantyers
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