The number devil: A mathematical adventure

Purpose

This is a series of activities based on the novel The number devil: A mathematical adventure

Achievement Objectives
NA4-1: Use a range of multiplicative strategies when operating on whole numbers.
NA4-8: Generalise properties of multiplication and division with whole numbers.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  1. Students will explore several key concepts from the world of mathematics through narrative and through the construction of models.
  2. Students will be able to express their observations about patterns and groups of numbers with an accurate vocabulary.
Description of Mathematics
  1. Mathematics is a diverse field of study and the understanding of pattern is central to appreciating its mystery and power.
  2. Solving problems and creating models is an interesting thing to do.
Required Resource Materials
Copymaster: Number Devil Links

The number devil: A mathematical adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Figure It Out Levels 3, 3-4 and 4

Access to the internet

Activity

The “Number Devil” meets “Figure It Out”
This series of activities is based on the novel The number devil: A mathematical adventure

Author: Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Translated by: Michael Henry Heim
Illustrator: Rotraut Susanne Berner
Publisher: Granta Books (1998)
ISBN: 978-1-86207-828-4

Summary:
Twelve–year old Robert hates mathematics and doesn’t see the power or beauty in it. That is until he spends 12 nights being visited by The Number Devil in his dreams. The subject comes to life through a series of explorations and metaphors and Robert discovers his passion for the patterns and wants to discover more. This is an illustrated novel with wonderful diagrams and formulae, interesting quirks of vocabulary and metaphor that has so many key mathematical concepts rolled out in one story it’s hard to document them all!

Unit Sequence:
The book is a novel organized as 12 chapters: one chapter representing each night Robert is visited by the Number Devil. A suggestion is to read aloud a chapter on the Monday, then explore the key ideas over the week and then re-read the chapter on the Friday. On the Friday have students document their new understandings gained that week. The copymaster contains a table that presents some of the key ideas in each chapter, a link to one investigative Figure Out Activity per chapter, and a suggestion of one other possible response activity.

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