An Area Problem

I saw this problem on twitter and I thought it looked interesting so I had a go at it...

Then I tweeted my lovely answer...

But what actually happened...

This was not my first attempt. I thought about it first, decided there was too much information to do it in my head. Jotted a diagram down, labelled it badly, made some substitution errors, realised I had made a mistake as my fractions were not cancelling nicely, spotted a pattern and then started again. I redrew a diagram, relabelled it in a more helpful way, used the pattern I had spotted and cancelled fractions as I went to keep calculations to a minimum.

The first attempt looked like this:

I was wondering: Do we ever let our students see us struggle? Do we model good problem solving behaviours? Do we demonstrate how important it is to make mistakes?


  1. I think it's good to allow students see us struggle. For this reason I try to use questions I've not done before quite often. This is more effective at a level than ks3/4 As I tend not to struggle on that content. A part of my master dissertation is focused on struggling.

    1. I had thrown away my first attempt, and only kept my final solution. Only after pondering the value of celebrating mistakes did I retrieve it and photograph it for posterity. I have decided to try and take more notice when I make mistakes or get things wrong..


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