The Seven Stars of Matariki


The purpose of this activity is to engage students in solving a problem involving sorting polygons by their spatial features.

Achievement Objectives
GM2-3: Sort objects by their spatial features, with justification.
Description of Mathematics

In readiness for this problem, the students should have familiarity with each of the following components of mathematics. The problem may be solved with different combinations of these components.

  • 2D shapes
  • regular and irregular polygons
  • features of a polygon
  • names of polygons (first ten)
  • sorting polygons

This activity may be carried out with guidance, or by allowing the student to follow their own method of solution. The approach should be chosen in sympathy with students’ skills and depth of understanding.


Stella’s class is learning about polygons.

On the classroom wall is the flag design, the Seven Stars of Matariki.

Stella thought she might be able to make polygon pictures by drawing lines from one star to another.

If each star on the flag can be used for only one vertex (corner), but not all the stars need to be used, what are the different types of polygons that Stella could make?

The practical approach (show more)

  • The student is able to explore a problem by constructing polygons and forming a solution set.

The conceptual approach (show more)

  • The student is able to recognise the constraints given in a problem and say how these will limit the range of polygons that may be formed.
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Level Two