The 4 pentagons inquiry prompt has been developed by Colm Sweet (a mathematics teacher in West Sussex, UK). He has tried it with classes in years 9 and 10. Students' comments and questions that have generated inquiry relate to:
- exterior and interior angles
- angle properties of parallel lines
- area of pentagons
- four other regular polygons
- angles in polygons
- the relationship between the central shape and the number of sides of the polygons.
In a recent discussion, Colm described how students who are normally quiet in class can become enthusiastic to discuss their findings publicly in inquiry lessons. Indeed, a group of previously reticent girls took a leading role the last time he used the four pentagons inquiry. Galina Zuckerman in her research on Moscow classrooms claimed such 'breakthrough' groups, as she labelled them, are capable of changing the dynamics within the whole inquiry classroom.
You can follow Colm Sweet on twitter @MrCSweet.