These sets of cards are modeled off of an activity by American Educational Products. There are four key features on each card: top number, bottom number, number and shape of middle design, and number of side triangles.
I put together a couple of files so that I could print out sets of these cards in color or in black and white. There are 6 cards on each page so a full set of 24 cards requires 4 printed pages. Some examples of the cards are shown below
I intentionally don't start the class off with any instructions besides "figure out what is on the missing card". From there I walk around and encourage their progress. I typically allow them 3 chances to check if they are correct but I don't give them any specific feedback about what they have right or wrong about their guess. I only tell them if they are correct or not ;)
As it getting closer to the end of class, it is often important to provide small hints to help students make progress towards a successful outcome. Some hints that help are:
The Follow Up
Groups will naturally complete this task at different times. For groups that finish early, I provide them with the following wrap up:
On a piece of paper, record every pattern that exists in your organizational structure
Once all groups have successfully described the missing card, we come back together as a class and discuss the approach that the different groups took when going about this task. If we have time, I show the Mendeleev video posted above and we connect this back to the nature of science and the role that pattern finding has in advancing our understanding of the world around us.
These files contain a version in color and a version optimized for black and white. The only difference is that one will have a rainbow spectrum while the other is gray scale so it can be printed out using a black and white copier. Personally, I have never used the color version since the black and white works just as well but doesn't cost as much to print :)
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