Archive | April, 2012

Dance Maths

22 Apr

Dancing and Maths may not seem like an obvious combination, perhaps because dancing is generally considered to be good fun. This idea came about as part of an open evening which was Disco themed but it has now become a regular activity in my lessons.

The idea centres around the fact that lots of maths questions have an answer between 1 and 99. To start you will need a class set of ‘dance mats’, I made mine using some non-slip fabric meant for swimming baths and some spray paint, alternatively you could use sugar paper and sticky-back plastic.

Each student is given a mat, you then flash questions up on the IWB, students left leg represents the tens and their right leg the units. They have to move so that their feet match the answer to the question e.g. if the answer were 52 they would have their left leg on ‘5’ and their right leg on ‘2’. The next question then appears and they jump to the next answer. Along with some music and a bit of momentum you get students dancing along to BIDMAS, volume, solving equations or any topic you can think of! See our bundle of dance mat maths in our tpt shop or tes store for some ready made activities that you can use with your Dance Math Mats.

My students really enjoy this of any ability and it really helps to engage the kinaesthetic learners, you may have a few students who initially don’t want to join in (until they see how much fun it is!) in which case I let them answer on mini-whiteboards instead.

If you try this out we would love to hear from you, tweet us  @numberloving or email at  and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Maths Party!

15 Apr

Maths and party are not two words you often hear in the same sentence but party games provide us with some great ways to engage students in the classroom. Here are a few of my favourite ideas:

Pass the parcel:

A simple idea which is great for a starter. this works very much as the party game but each layer has a question selotaped to it, before students can unwrap their layer they have to answer the question! In the past I have asked each student to write a question on a slip of paper as a plenary, then I use these questions in the pass the parcel the following lesson. I have done this with GCSE groups too and used exam questions cut up from a past paper. Students to the left and right can peer mark the answer to check it is correct! I have my classroom organised into five tables so I make five ‘parcels’ so each table has one to pass around, but you could adapt this depending on how your room is set up. All you need is some music and a prize for the middle and away you go!


Balloon modelling:

Balloon modelling is an exciting venture for anyone, old or young, this PowerPoint “Welcome to the fun fair!!” takes you through the steps needed to make a balloon dog. Students have to measure their balloon (bought cheaply from homebargains, be sure to leave a 10cm section at the end which is un-inflated) then work out and mark the fractions on (starting from the end which is tied), then they fold and twist. It really is simple and makes a great fun lesson when studying fractions of amounts, it could be adapted to work for percentages or ratio. You could also extend the idea and get students to investigate making some of their own models! The video below shows how to make the twists, if you have younger students you may want to do this for them:

Four corners

This is great for types of shapes or number types. In each corner of the room you have a picture of a shape or a number hung up. You call out a property such as ‘four vertices’ or ‘square number’ and students must go to the corner which fits that property. If students go to the wrong one they are ‘out’ and should sit down, you can make it progressively more challenging by having several conditions they have to meet.

Simon says

This is a classic which can be adapted for practising drawing shapes, you give an instruction – for example ‘simon says draw a horizontal line 4cm in length’ and students have to do it, you continue on in this way until they have constructed a shape, the catch is sometimes you give an instruction which does not start with ‘simon says’ in this case they should not follow it. Get ready for chaos!

Keep tuned as this week I will also be blogging about dance maths… Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Joking around in Maths? Collect a Joke!

5 Apr

The joy of laughter is not to be denied even in the learning environment. I like to think pupils are laughing with me when I crack my latest mathematical based jokes, even with comments like “Miss, that’s your worst one yet”, I know they enjoyed it really!


We have developed a few ideas of how jokes can be used in the classroom to motivate and engage learners, as well as creating a great atmosphere!

1) Collect a letter

This is a slight adjustment to a normal worksheet with each answer there is an accompanying letter and the next question.
Changing numbers to and from standard index form

2) Hunt a joke
This can be the easiest way to liven up a activity which at NumberLoving we call “bog standard worksheet” into a motivating and engaging activity.

Simply take the answers in order, to any worksheet and match them each with a word (if enough words, letters if not) on laminated cards that have been placed on the walls around the classroom. When pupils have completed their work and had it marked they can then move around the rooms collect the words or letters in the order of the answers to form the joke or secret message.

Check out this simplifying surds worksheet, which is differentiated to three levels of difficulty, hunt cards and solutions.

3) Treasure hunt

You may have already seen our treasure hunt resources. This is a slight adaptation, in which with each treasure hunt card a word from the joke or a letter to punch line is added to each card.

For a healthy supply of those all important mathematics jokes check out this forum discussion on the TES as well as this previous post on maths jokes.

My favourite “What did the zero say to the eight?”

Punchline; “Nice belt”

Get in touch @numberloving or and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Mathematic Fortune Tellers

2 Apr

You may remember these fortune tellers, or cootie catchers as known in the USA, from your youth? In my day we used them to find out what your future held or who you would ‘obviously’ marry!

Well, Number Loving have introduced them into mathematics lessons and they are our new resources which have been added to our online store in a bundle, check it out here.


On the right is an example of a fortune teller which is ready and this one is free to download from our TES or TPT store here. First you will notice the colours, as with all our resources these colours relate to levels of difficulty. Therefore differentiation is present from the start; green is the hardest, amber is medium and red the easiest.


Once printed pupils will need to fold along the grey lines and make to look like the picture above. Instructions on how to fold the fortune teller are available here.

Or watch this video

Playing the game

For those who have forget how to play check out this post.

Also available to download is a blank version here, as this is great to ask pupils to create their own to challenge their partners or even their teacher!

Why not make a big fortune teller with the whole class? Use masking tape to tape each square piece of paper together. Have a look at this video, but be warned you may wish to turn the sound down.

Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

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