February 1st 2022 is the beginning of the Year of the Tiger
It’s the Chinese year of the tiger and Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are using the Numicon® shapes to cover the picture of the tiger.
You will need the tiger picture (download here – make sure you print at 100% so that it is the right size for the shapes) and a set of Numicon® shapes. If you don’t have the plastic shapes you can download a set of printable Numicon® shapes here.
Use the Numicon® shapes to cover the tiger in any way you can. You could copy Digit Dog and Calculating cat.
What do you notice about the ways they have covered the tiger? Which shapes did they use? How many shapes? What is the same and what is different?
How many different ways can you cover the tiger? Describe what you’ve done.
Compare your tiger with your friend’s. What’s the same and what’s different? How did you check that your way was different from your friend’s?
Questions to ask:
How did you cover the tiger? How many shapes did you use? Talk about how you chose the shapes. Which shapes were most useful?
Can you cover the tiger again, using different shapes?
How many different ways can you do it?
What is the fewest number of shapes you can use? The most?
Can you just use odd shapes? Even shapes?
What if you weren’t allowed to use the same shape more than once? How many ways can you do it? Is this more difficult? What are you thinking?
Play What’s missing? with Digit Dog.
Digit Dog and Calculating Cat have removed one shape from their tiger. Which shape do you think it is? Why do you think that?
Could you fill that space with more than one shape? Which ones?
Play the game with a friend. Cover your tigers with shapes. Player 1 close your eyes, player 2 take away one shape. Player 1 say which shape is missing and explain how you know.
Feely bag challenge
Put some shapes in a feely bag, take them out one at a time and place on the tiger. Can you find the shapes you want by touch alone? This helps with visualising the shapes.
Challenge learners to:
- describe and explain what they are doing, to reason why they have chosen certain shapes.
- have a strategy for choosing shapes rather than do it randomly.
- swap shapes for other equivalent shapes each time they look for a new arrangement rather than starting from the beginning.
- put all their completed tigers together and ask “what is the same?” “what is different?”
Try the same activities with the other animals (download here).