Maths Resource of the Week 30

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Find Your Factors Activity

  • An energetic look at the world of factors
  • What is it? - I’ll be honest from the outset - this is what I would consider a high-risk activity. As the author points out, if your class is in any way “excitable” (and we all know what that means) then you might want to think twice about doing it. But if you are up for a challenge, then it is a truly great way to investigate the world of factors and multiples, and to get students discussing maths and working together. Full instructions are provided, but basically each student is assigned a number and when instructed they must try and join hands or make physical contact with all other students that are carrying a factor of their number. To the untrained eye, this may well resemble an out of control game of Twister, but there is a lot of good mathematics going on in this activity.
  • How could it be used? - You can do no better than run this activity exactly as explained in the very clear instructions. Again, as the author points out, careful use of praise and classroom management is crucial to the success of the activity. Once the students have assembled themselves correctly, it is a good idea to get one of the students to draw a quick sketch of the arrangement on the board. Then students can return to their seats and the analysis can begin. The author provides some excellent questions to stimulate discussion such as: Why is 11 standing alone? What would the highest number need to be (at least) for 11 to be touching one other person? What is the next highest number for which there will be one person standing alone? Why was the number 1 not included? This is a really fun activity that the students will remember, and with the right class can be extremely worthwhile.
  • How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.
  • Uploaded by pand

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