Maths - In the spotlight

2nd December 2011 at 00:00
Symmetry and area invaders

What is it?

TESiboard has come up with a winning resource that combines setting areas and creating symmetrical patterns with the rewards of an arcade-style game.

How does it work?

The activity sets pupils the challenge of arranging squares to form the shape of a "space invader" creature. The total number of squares that they use must reach a specified target area. There are lots of options for differentiation making for a truly inclusive lesson that pupils will be raving about for days. The options include "starter", which uses only whole units and has areas of even total numbers; "learner", which includes half-shapes, but still asks for an even area number; and "expert", which involves odd area totals, forcing pupils to use half-unit shapes. There is a choice of making one, two or three invaders and using a line of symmetry that goes vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

What else?

Once the invaders have been made to meet the target area criteria, pupils get the chance to manipulate a second frame of each of their invaders in order to produce a simple animated movement. They then play a version of the classic arcade game using their shape animations.

Try it out and tell us what you think.

Find all resources and links at


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