The clients role in agency is to alert us to some sort of havoc that is going on in their workplace. This havoc will directly relate to a villain. We must then work out who this villain is and when we do, we will have a chance to hear the problem.
This external client takes the job of setting a deadline or purpose away from the teacher and gives it to this imaginary client. The problem that they have recognised in their workplace hooks us in to the need for problem solving and gives us a commission. The villain then steps in to provide some tension to the story. In fact it is very much like a good story, a beginning, middle and end and within that there is a problem, climax to the story and resolution.
While the client and villain may be completely imagined, they give a very authentic purpose to the maths for the children (agents.) Not only does it give purpose to the problem solving, but it also gives a real purpose to the daily professional development that they take part in, because if we are to be leaders in our field and real experts, we must keep up to date with our mathematical knowledge, we must be a step ahead of those villains.
The clients are not puppets, they are still images. They enter agency usually through a phone call or email, are represented by the still image, but given a voice by the teacher in role. One of the clients is an agent just like us, but is on location, enabling them to keep abreast of any havoc they may see the villains getting up to...this character in particular is good for using to introduce strand related problems.
I have just put a pack together of my clients. It can be found in my TPT store here.
The Painter...one of our clients in agency. He's always having problems sorting his paint orders or tracking down his paint cans... :)