One of the new members introduced me to Tarsia (Free and easily accessible here) which is a marvelous technology which can allow us to pivot problem solving.
Essentially the software converts a series of equations (shown in table form below)
Each piece is a triangle (with 3 expressions along each side). The goal is to pair the expressions, so the pieces become a shape (typically either a triangle or a hexagon)
In my class I wanted to use this activity to practise what we had learnt about surds and index laws.
I decided I wanted to ensure this activity did not 'crowd out' the quiet students, so I enforced a silent work.
(There is little in this world more beautiful than watching students yearning to discuss their mathematically reasoning)
I feel that the limitations of silence and only having 4-5 students per desk, were key to encouraging collaboration and group problem solving.
As I researched this software further I found that Mr Barton's website and blog, provided a wealth of further development ideas.
Why not put in a mistake,
or an omission on one side,
or faux equations around the edges of the shape,
or multiple possible solutions.
Oh the opportunities to develop a simple activity a more thorough and robust learning experience.
I look forward to the next topic where I can explore this program further and try some more advanced applications of the triangle.