First Investigation for Grade 6: nrich Star Patterns

For the first investigation with Grade 6, I chose to do nrich star patterns. It’s a lovely investigation which really gets the students excited by making different patterns. I purposefully gave them very little direction on the investigation. In fact, I simply introduced it with a few examples and then gave them some pieces of paper with blank circles on. Their first challenge…

To figure out how to draw evenly spaced dots on a circle. When they asked…”Sir, how do we make the dots?” I pointed to the compasses and took a step back.

As you can imagine, it took a long time (much, much longer than I expected) for them to figure out together how to do this. After that, I gave them a structure to follow regarding how they may want to set out their investigation. An introduction, the actual data, organising the data, observations and patterns and lastly explaining those observations and patterns. Of course, I made it clear that the last step, whilst being the most interesting, is often the most difficult and so they simply had to do their best with that.

When they hand it in on Monday, I’m expecting a huge range of investigations from those with almost no explanations, to those in which explanations take over when simple pictures would do so much more to clarify something for the reader.

Anyhow, I’ve written an example investigation today which I hoped to get some feedback on. I initially tried to write it without using algebra, but then I decided to stick some in there for us to discuss. I think I may have gone a bit overboard with it??? Having said that, I’m happy to spend a decent amount of time going through this with students and allowing them to internalize it. If anyone has any recommendations to make the investigation better, certain sections easier to understand or ways in which the investigation can be improved/extended then it’d be great to here. Do you think I’ve been a bit harsh to provide so little structure for their first investigation? Have I expected too much? I’d love to hear honest opinions.

Click the picture below to go to the applet I made for this.

06-10-2013 17-46-44


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