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Star Drawing

How it works

You probably know how to draw a 5-pointed star. But what about a 7-pointed star? Or a 12-pointed star? Or a 30-pointed star?

In this activity, students discover and explore a general procedure that you can use to draw a star with any number of points. As they explore, they find that this general procedure sometimes produces unexpected results.

Intro handout
Dot handouts
Star collecting booklet

Why we like this activity:

  • It’s fun! The stars are really visually appealing, and trying to figure out how to make them is a compelling challenge.

  • It helps to develop algorithmic reasoning.

  • It helps to develop intuition about important relationships between numbers.

  • It requires students to engage in mathematical habits of mind:

    • Finding and using strategies to draw stars with different numbers of points.

    • Finding similarities and differences between different stars.

    • Wondering about why there are more different stars with some numbers of points than others.

    • Looking for patterns / making and testing predictions / understanding and explaining when exploring the relationship between the number of dots, the number of dots you skip / jump each time, and the number of points of the star you end up with.

  • It has a low floor and a high ceiling: Students can start by making stars through trial and error, but developing a general procedure is more challenging, and there are lots of interesting questions to explore about when this general procedure does and doesn't work.

To find out more about our approach to math and math education, click here.