In some problems though, where there are more variables, it may not be clear at first which way to change the guessing.2 Act It Out We put two strategies together here because they are closely related. In the Farmyard problem, the children might take the role of the animals though it is unlikely that you would have 87 children in your class!
But if there are not enough children you might be able to press gang the odd teddy or two. It is an effective strategy for demonstration purposes in front of the whole class.
This is because the participants are so engrossed in the mechanics of what they are doing that they don’t see through to the underlying mathematics.
However, because these children are concentrating on what they are doing, they may in fact get more out of it and remember it longer than the others, so there are pros and cons here. Generally speaking, any object that can be used in some way to represent the situation the children are trying to solve, is equipment.
You might think of a diagram as anything that you can draw which isn’t a picture.
But where do you draw the line between a picture and a diagram?
But all children should be encouraged to use this strategy at some point because it helps children ‘see’ the problem and it can develop into quite a sophisticated strategy later.
It’s hard to know where Drawing a Picture ends and Drawing a Diagram begins.
If you are not careful, they may try to use it all the time.
As problems get more difficult, other strategies become more important and more effective.