Bears in a sofa

 

Task

Three bears should sit on a sofa. In how many different ways can it be solved?

Let the children document themselves on paper. The children can then be paired and compare their solutions.

End with a full class discussion. Discuss:

  • What they came up with
  • Different ways to document it

The task can be performed:

  • Concrete: Find three figures and something that should be like a sofa and try to move around (or have three children sitting on three chairs)
  • Semi-concrete: Draw a rectangle for the sofa and draw figures in it, or draw dots
  • Abstract: Write letters for them in different order

To adapt the problem

  • Two bears on a three-seater sofa
  • Three bears on a two-seater sofa…
  • More advanced: Increase the number of bears or sofa seats. Four bears on a three-seater sofa, or four on a four-seater sofa. But also four bears on a two-seater sofa!

A digital variant

A digital variant of the task is available in the CombiBears application, www2.kau.se/jorrbomm. Teachers and students can now choose how many seats should be on the sofa and how many bears should sit there. After each completed combination, students can save their solutions by ”taking cards” and finally comparing the cards systematically to see if they have found all the combinations or not.

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