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Points
Number and Algebra, Level 1
The Problem Gill, was writing her name using capitals. She noticed that "G" had three end-points, "I" had two and "L" had two. How many points did she have in her name? How many points does your name have? What is the problem about? Although this problem is ostensibly about points on the capital letters of the alphabet, it is really a precursor to algebra. The students are substituting numbers for letters in their names and so laying the groundwork for their algebra work. The lesson were dealing with here is the first of a sequence of six dealing with the same theme. These develop from Level 1 through to Level 6. In the process they involve number concepts at the various Levels and gradually involve algebraic concepts too. The lessons are Names and Numbers, Level 2, Make 4.253, Level 3, Multiples of a, Level 3 Go Negative, Level 4, and Doubling Up, Level 5. You might find it useful to scan these other lessons to see where they lead and maybe to use an idea or two. Relevant Achievement Objectives

Number strategies: use a range of counting, grouping, and equal-sharing strategies with whole numbers and fractions.

Specific Learning Outcomes The students will be able to:

o o

add several small numbers. devise and use problem solving strategies to explore situations mathematically (guess and check, be systematic, draw a picture, think).

Resources

o o

Copymaster of the problem (English). Copymaster of the problem in (Mori).

Specific learning outcomes The students will be able to:

add several small numbers.

Teaching sequence

1. 2. 3.

4.

5. 6.

Tell the students Gills story. How many points does she have? Let them find the number of points of some word, ROOM, say. Make sure that they understand how to find the number of points of a letter. Then ask them to find the number of points of their names. (That is, just their first names.) Get their partner in their group to check that they have found the right value for their name. Then ask the students to put themselves into groups where all the students points are the same. Get them to think about their names to see if there is a good reason why they are all in the same group. Is this only possible if they have the same names? The quicker groups can go on to tackle the Extension problem. Get a few groups to report on what they have done.

Extension to the Problem

Can you think of a name that has 17 points? (One that hasnt come up before.) Solution The answers that you get for the first part of the question will depend upon the names of the students in the class.
Solution to the Extension:

This is probably best done by guess and check. They will know from the first part of the lesson that you need a reasonably long name to get 17 points. MARILYN has 15. Weve got to get more points. What letter has a lot of points? H has four. Try a long word with H in it. TIMOTHY has 17. N.B. This problem gives lots of scope for exploration. You might like them to get in groups where their points are a particular number, say 5, or an even number. Or you could ask them to sort the numbers into groups that have the same number of points.

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