Archive | May, 2012

Jubilee? We’ve got it covered.

24 May

Next weekend marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and gives us an opportunity in class for some royal fun (!) I will be using these top trumps cards as a starter which feature familiar faces from the royal family and sums relating to the number 60.

I will then be getting my class to try a mystery. I have made three to pick from (see resource on the TES here) across a range of Mathematical topics and each relating to one of the events taking place during the celebration.

As a plenary I’ll be posing the question ‘how many ways can we make 60’ and students will share their examples on the window (see below). They will have to use the numbers between 1 and 10 and any operations they can think of, the most imaginative solution will win a suitably British prize! If you use any of these resources why not let us know how it goes @laurareeshughes and @numberloving. For some other great jubilee themed resources check out this collection on the TES…

Take a bet…

10 May

Clearly gambling is not something which we should be promoting in Maths, but allowing students the opportunity to gamble opens up the chance to discuss the moral, social and financial implications in a real way. When teaching probability as an end of unit project (in pairs) I ask students to create a game, this is an idea which I adapted from this resource on the TES.  I usually start the lesson by giving an example of a game for them to think about – powerpoint here. Then they have to design their own and make sure the odds are in their favour, they have to work out the probability of winning and losing, think about pricing and prizes and from this work out their expected profit if 10 or 100 people play. This can be easily differentiated through outcome and I have done it with low ability year 7 up to top set year 9 by just adapting the success criteria.

Once they have had a lesson to design their game, make any resources and do all the maths you need to get your hands on some plastic money. Each team gets £10 (their games should cost between 0-£2 to play) and the students set up their games like a fair, they have the opportunity to go around playing one another’s games. Once ten people have played their game they should ‘shut down’ their stall. After this, get students to count their money and see whether they made the expected profit they calculated the previous lesson. You can then have a great discussion about why they didn’t make their expected profit (experiments differ from theory) and whether they still have their original £10 and how this relates to gambling in real life – e.g. the house always wins!

This is a fun project but also a great opportunity to assess and explore lots of elements of probability. If you like this idea you may also like this resource on the TES which is brilliant and includes several games for students to investigate before making their own.

Treasure Hunts

7 May

Treasure hunt resources are very versatile, with great advantages such as pupil engagement, reduced photocopying, easy differentiation, and pair work.

There is a wide range of ready prepared and differentiated treasure hunts available to download for free on our resource site here. All you need to do is download, print the resource, laminate and slice. These cards are then stuck up around the learning area for pupils to hunt down.

Here is a screen shot of just two cards from a higher level GCSE treasure hunt.  The amber cards represent the easier route, and the green would be the higher or more challenging route.

There are a number of ways to run a treasure hunt;


Post the cards around the room or outside or any space really! Pupils work in pairs and work either on the amber route or the green route. They can be given starting points or simply start on the card nearest to their seat. Pupils then answer the question at the bottom of the card, when they have the answer they then move around the room until they find the card with that answer on. The activity is over when a pair get back to the card they started on therefore have completed the route.

Follow Me

This is possible for the treasure hunts that do not include a diagram. Each pupil has a card and reads the question, the person with the answer states the answer and then reads the next question. Again this activity is complete when we return to the card you started with.

Card Sort

With the cards printed and laminated pupils work in groups to sort the cards into a loop. This is great for group discussion and I used it as part of a revision carousel.


The cards are easily differentiated with most having two levels of difficulty, you can add as many levels of difficulty you require for the class. In addition it is good to set a challenge for gifted pupils to create a treasure hunt for the rest of the class to complete as a plenary or starter activity.

Collect a Joke

Combine this idea with collect a joke by adding a word of the joke punch line to each answer, pupils collect the words as the go. This just adds an extra dimension.

We hope your class and yourself enjoy the ideas and if you have any more ideas we’ve not thought of we would love to hear them.

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