This problem is about points on the capital letters of the alphabet and is a precursor to algebra.
A series of six lessons with the same theme span Levels 1 to 5. They involve number concepts gradually developing into algebraic concepts. The lessons are Names and Numbers, Level 2, Make 4.253, Level 3, Multiples of a, Level 3 Go Negative, Level 4, and Doubling Up, Level 5. You might find it useful to scan these other lessons to see where they lead.
Gill is writing her name using capitals. She notices that "G" has three end-points, "I" has two and "L" has two. How many points does she have in her name?
How many points does your name have?
Whose name in the class has the most points? The fewest points?
- Tell the students Gill’s story.
How many points does she have?
- Have your students find the number of points in other words. Fro example, ROOM, MATHS
- Ensure that they understand how to find the number of points of a letter. Have each student find the number of points of their first name. Have a partner check that they have found the right value for their name.
- Have students form groups where all the students’ points are the same. Have them think about their names to see if there is a good reason why they are all in the same group. Is this only possible if they have the same names?
- Have groups report on what they have found out.
- Explore the Extension.
Extension to the Problem
Can you think of a name that has 17 points? (One that hasn’t come up before.)
Can you find a shorter name that has more points that a longer name? If so, why is this?
The answers that you get for the first part of the question will depend upon the names of the students in the class.
Solution to the Extension:
They will know from the first part of the lesson that a reasonably long name is needed to get 17 points. Have them guess and check to find a solution.
They may find that rounded letters (eg. C, D, O) have fewer points, so OSCAR has fewer points than EMMA.