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Investigations: The Gruffalo

Authors:
INVESTIGATIONS
THE MATHEMATICAL
ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA
PRIME NUMBER: VOLUME 34, NUMBER 3. 2019
© The Mathematical Association of Victoria
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Teachers of older students (Years 2 and up) might also wish to launch The Deep Dark Wood Investigation.
THE GRUFFALO
James Russo, Monash University and Toby Russo, Bell Primary School
THE GRUFFALO GAME
Before playing The Gruffalo Game, it is
helpful to make sure that your students
are familiar with Rock, Paper, Scissors.
In the story, the mouse is scared of the
fox, owl and snake, these other animals
are all scared of the Gruffalo (and don’t
seem particularly scared of each other),
and the Gruffalo is scared of the mouse.
Invent hand signals for each of the
characters and play 20 games of the
Gruffalo version of rock-paper-scissors.
Record your results and compare them
with classmates. How many times did
each animal win, lose or draw a round?
What might be the reasons for these
results?
ENABLING PROMPT
Is there one character who seems to
perform better than other characters?
What would you do if your opponent
played this character every time?
EXTENDING PROMPT
To make the game more complex, you
might also assume:
The fox is scared of the snake
The snake is scared of the owl
The owl is scared of the fox
Play the game another 20 times.
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to your original results?
How did students in your class approach the above investigation? Share your class’s experience with the Prime Number editorial
team (james.russo@monash.edu), for the opportunity to have it published in Prime Number as a resource to share with other
teachers and students. If possible, try and include photographs of work samples, as well as of students engaging in the task.
The Gruffalo lives in the centre of the
Deep Dark Wood, surrounded by thick
trees, which is why none of the other
animals have ever met it. Using all the
information in the story, draw a map of
the Deep Dark Wood (on graph paper),
labelling all of the animals homes. On
your map, can you trace the path the
Little Brown Mouse travelled. Make sure
your map makes sense with the order
events take place in the story.
EXTENSION
Can you create a scale for your map of
the wood? (Eg 1cm equals 10 metres).
According to your map, how far did the
mouse walk through the entire story?
How far away does the Gruffalo live
from the Snake, its closest neighbour in
the story? What is the approximate area
of the Deep Dark Wood? A typical wood
might have between 1000 and 2500 trees
per hectare. How many trees might be in
your wood?
THE DEEP DARK WOOD
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