The Mushroom HuntTask 38 ... Years 4  10SummarySix persons collect mushrooms and on return compare the numbers in their baskets. They notice two special things:

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IcebergA task is the tip of a learning iceberg. There is always more to a task than is recorded on the card.
This journal page from an unnamed Year 3 student at Crawley Ridge Junior School, Surrey, confirms that even young children enjoy chasing patterns when they 'own' a problem. This student is not far from being interested in converting these answers to binary numbers which record the baskets used to make a solution. 
Some find it a little difficult to interpret this problem. You may need to offer additional verbal explanation. The key is that no mushrooms are taken out of the baskets when the persons compare. The combinations are made by counting what's in single baskets, pairs of baskets, triples of baskets and so on up to the total in all six baskets.

Note: This investigation has been included in Maths At Home. In this form it has fresh context and purpose and, in some cases, additional resources. Maths At Home activity plans encourage independent investigation through guided 'homework', or, for the teacher, can be an outline of a class investigation.
 Visit the Home Page for more Background.
 For this specific activity click the Learners link and on that page use Ctrl F (Cmd F on Mac) to search the task name.
Whole Class InvestigationTasks are an invitation for two students to work like a mathematician. Tasks can also be modified to become whole class investigations which model how a mathematician works. 
To convert this task you need heaps of objects to use as mushrooms, and something like paper plates to use as baskets. Poly Plug offers an excellent collection of mushrooms. Probably using the red ones is the simplest approach. A detailed lesson plan for Mushroom Hunt can be found on Maths300. For more ideas and discussion about this investigation, open a new browser tab (or page) and visit Maths300 Lesson 130, The Mushroom Hunt. Visit The Mushroom Hunt on Poly Plug & Tasks. 
Is it in Maths With Attitude?Maths With Attitude is a set of handson learning kits available from Years 310 which structure the use of tasks and whole class investigations into a week by week planner. 
The Mushroom Hunt task is an integral part of:
The Mushroom Hunt lesson is not included in any MWA kit (it was developed after they were published), but it could be used to enhance the Years 9 & 10 Number & Computation kit. This task is also included in the Task Centre Kit for Aboriginal Students. 