Making Octopus Pictures

I found this image on Pinterest a year or so ago and filed it away. I am using it today because yet again I have had a flurry of questions about where I get my ideas for problematized situations from.

My friend Jane is a reception class teacher and her class are all going to make an octopus like this one.

A close up of a device

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She’s very busy so asked for some help. Here are the questions she asked me:

“How many fruit loops will be needed for each octopus?”
“Is there a ‘save brain space’ way to work it out?”

Her children sit in groups of 6 so she wants to know:

“How many google eyes she will need for each group?”
“How many paper strip tentacles she will need to cut for each group?”
“How many fruit loops she will need for each group?”

She’s really stressed because she has 24 children in her class and she really needs to work out has many eyes, how many tentacles and how many fruit loops she needs for everyone to be able to make an octopus.

Please help her, and by the way she is really interested in seeing your thinking.

Note to Teachers

Where do I get my problematized situation from? The answer is “Everywhere”. I simply play around with things that might appeal to students and create my narratives around them. For those of you who are wanting to create problematized situations there is a whole section about writing problems in an online course Problematized Situations.

Not all students are expected to get to the end of this problem, the last part is a sting in the tail. Some students will draw and count all, some will work additively and some multiplicatively and some will have flexible and efficient strategies. Look carefully at the tentacles, some important information might be missed. I wouldn’t draw students’ attention to this; its better if they get an Aha moment when they realise that they may not have looked carefully enough. They may not be ‘tricked’ another time.

There’s also a chance that your students ask for materials to make their own Cupcake Liner designs. That would be good!

Cheers and have a safe weekend.