Physical Activity

The first activity that we suggest is a physical experience in preparation for TALES.
Divide the children into two teams of equal number - one red and one blue - numbering the children of each team starting from 1 (below you can find the attachment called numbers.pdf with the numbers ready to print and stick on the children's T-shirts).

In order for the children to become familiar with their own number, we suggest starting with a game such as capture the flag, in which you may call not only numbers but also small formulas: 2+3, 4x1, etc.


The two teams are then arranged in two rows facing each other - we recommend that the children sit on the floor. It is important that the children are evenly spaced, with each child facing the partner on the opposite team with the same number.
A rope is then handed to each child of - for example - the blue team. The teacher will call the children of the blue team one at a time and each of them will go and hand over one end of their rope to the child on the red team with the same number, as illustrated in the figure.

The teacher will now evaluate whether to propose observations regarding the parallel lines, possibly also with small changes in the configuration (as in the figure). In our opinion, an important thing to note - perhaps through some questions - is that the difference between the numbers of two children connected by a rope is always 0, while the sum is always different.


The children of the red team now collect all the ropes, and in a similar way to before, they are asked to hand over the rope to the child of the blue team with the number following theirs - as illustrated in the figure. As before, parallel lines are formed, but this time at an angle to the two rows.

Two children will be left out, number 1 on the blue team and the last number on the red team. Ask the class why these children are left out, highlighting for example the lack of number 0 in the red team.

You can now continue to ask the children about the sum and difference of numbers that are connected by a rope, noting that the difference is always 1, while the sum keeps changing. You can now focus on the concept of constant, as something that does not change, by giving and asking examples such as height - which is not constant over a lifetime - and one's name - which never changes.

We can then see that in the configuration the difference is constant while the sum is not.


After the children on the blue team have collected the ropes, we proceed to the next step. The teacher calculates the number obtained by adding 1 to the number of children on one of the two teams: in the examples of the figures this number is 5 because the teams are made up of 4 players.
The children on the blue team will be asked to give one end of their rope to the child of the red team who has that number, which when added to their own gives, in our case, 5 and in general the number computed by the teacher.

Remarks and questions can then be asked about the configuration obtained, perhaps trying to recognize usual shapes; a possibility is that the children are arranged in a circle to look like a pizza cut into slices.

We now suggest pointing out that in this new arrangement, the sum is constant while the difference is not.


The last configuration that we suggest follows the same rule as the previous configuration of the bundle of lines, this time placing the rows of children perpendicular to each other.

Also this time you can ask them to identify usual shapes similar to the one obtained, or ask questions about the configuration, as identifying triangles or quadrilaterals.


To conclude, we suggest arranging the teams in front of each other again and letting them build a free configuration: the ropes are given to one of the two teams, letting each child - one at a time - give one end of the rope to a child of the other team of their choice, obtaining a configuration like the one below.

At this point you can ask to recognize figures or lines with particular properties in the configuration obtained.