Task 166 ... Years 2 - 10
SummaryUse four sphinx shapes to make a sphinx. Easy to state and easy to start, but the solution, even for adults, does not usually come easily. Once found, applying the process of Working Mathematically opens an almost unbelievable wealth of investigation. This task has been chosen as the model which represents the possibilities in each and every task.
This cameo has a From The Classroom section in the form of a video made by the students of Pam McGifford's Year 8 class at Cressy District High School. It is a captivating report of their investigation into many aspects and properties of the Sphinx.
Sphinx also appears on the Picture Puzzles Shape & Measurement A menu where the problem is presented using one screen, two learners, concrete materials and a challenge. It is the basis of two puzzles - one related to building shapes with sphinxes and tessellating, and the other related to measuring area and perimeter using an equilateral triangle as the unit.
IcebergA task is the tip of a learning iceberg. There is always more to a task than is recorded on the card.
It is best to never reveal the solution to Question 1. Students will find it eventually, but it often takes up to ten minutes. When it is found, mess up the pieces (including turning some over) and encourage one partner to put their hands behind their back (or sit on their hands), then give directions tell the other person how to remake the Size 2 Sphinx. Encourage students to record the language which was more helpful in this oral exercise.
What words are better/worse to use?The solution is:
and, yes, there is only one solution. Why?Question 2 does not require using a ruler (although the same relationship would result). It requires choosing a unit of measure and a straightforward one is the shortest side length of a Sphinx shape. Then:
There are now several ways into the iceberg of this task:
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.
The ideas and links above offer many reasons for turning this task into a whole class lesson at a wide range of year levels. All you need is lots of sphinx shapes. You can make your own from a drawing supplied in the Iceberg link above, or you can purchase class sets of plastic sphinxes.
For more ideas and discussion about this investigation, open a new browser tab (or page) and visit Maths300 Lesson 25, Sphinx and Maths300 Lesson 99 What's It Worth?.
Is it in Maths With Attitude?Maths With Attitude is a set of hands-on learning kits available from Years 3-10 which structure the use of tasks and whole class investigations into a week by week planner.
The Sphinx task is an integral part of:
The Sphinx lesson is an integral part of: