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Translation Today!

24 Mar

move it move itA quick post about one of the four transformations- Translation!


Play Girls Aloud’s song “I can’t speak french” or “I like to move it” from Madagascar as pupils enter the classroom. Or turn it into a quick game of name the lesson topic instead of name that song.

Translation Mystery

Pupils use the clue cards to plot two shapes and translate them both twice, labeling each vertex and disciphering the code. This mystery consists of two different difficulty levels (easy and hard). The easy cue cards describes each translation using words and pupils can plot the shapes on a 1-1 coordinate grid. The hard version requires pupils understand translations given as vectors.  Download the full resource and solutions from our TES store here and don’t forget to download the free starter which you could use with this lesson; also in our store here.

Tweet us @numberloving we’d love to hear how you hook your pupils in!

Exam Technique

28 Feb

A quick blog about different strategies and resources to get your class and classroom exam ready!


exam command words Command Word Display

Print this NumberLoving display for your classroom and use it to reinforce the meaning of command words. They can displayed along side the meaning and it also a good activity to remove the command word and ask the pupils to state the command word given the meaning.

Exam Countdown Display

Print and laminate this exam countdown display, displaying the most appropriate length of time, whether it be months, weeks or days. Using a whiteboard pen this can easily be updated so the countdown to exams is clear for all.

Exam Practice

Training to Triple read

Encourage pupils not only to read the questions but to triple read the question, each time with a different purpose;

  1. Highlight the figures in yellow (numbers or words e.g half)
  2. Highlight command words in green
  3. Read again “aloud in your head” with emphasise on those words

Do this as part of your teaching, highlighting in two colours, modelling by reading aloud with emphasis on command words. It will soon become part and parcel of pupils’ approach to questions.

Start from the back

Little change with the potential of a big impact on pupils’ resilience and mindset. Starting from the back when pupils are more focused and moving towards the front of the paper and the easier questions. Very relevant if working on papers in class, start from the back so pupils can get support from peers, the teacher etc.

However we are not fans of death by past paper, check out our post “Anything but more past papers” for alternative revision techniques.

Walking Talking Mock

This is large scale modelling; modelling as a teaching strategy is simply put as ‘thinking out loud’. Therefore modelling for pupils the thought processes when approaching problems. Pupils will increasingly take this role of modelling, guided and refined by the teacher. The walking-talking mock is described by the Guardian here as the “new initiative intended to boost students’ exam technique”. In brief it is a large scale version of modelling, highlighting exam technique and key exam words, the lead teacher hints, modelling thought processes related to the mock paper in front of the pupil, question by question in the exam hall. Dragonfly Training give a good description of how they ran a walking-talking mock here or check out Kristian Still’s blog here, this is another good example of how to approach the walking talking mock.

Key Skills Builder

As mentioned in our post some topics keep on coming up so it is important that these skills are embedded in pupils’ practice. We discuss exam warm ups as a way of reinforcing and revising vital topics. Check out the blog here.

Has anyone used these strategies or other strategies? We would love to hear you views!

Decorate your door!

11 Feb

A nice, simple display for all the doors in the department!


Download the resource from our TES store for free now!

3-D Shapes in more than 3-ways

3 Nov

In this post I have pulled together lots of different ways of studying 3D shapes, with my new favourite ‘Pull-Up’ shapes. For each activity I have linked it to my favourite nRich tasks, check out their collection here.

Fold-Up for the Notebook


This great idea from Pinterest, means pupils can have this 3D shape in their class books but it still folds flat!  I believe this idea originally came from Hooty’s Homeroom blog, check out their website here for full instructions.

n-Rich Pyramid N-gon

The base of a pyramid has n edges. In terms of n, what is the difference between the number of edges of the pyramid and the number of faces? Check out this nRich task here.

Construct and Hang-Up

mobileUsing toothpicks or wooden skewers as edges and midget gems or marshmallows as vertices most 3D shapes can be built.  These make great 3D shapes for display but also useful for when exploring trigonometry and Pythagoras’ Theorem in 3D.  CIMG0057Midget gems will go hard and therefore will withstand the test of time on the classroom windowsill. Check out our blog post ‘Sweets, cocktails sticks and 3D shapes’ here.

imageNRich Cube Paths Puzzle

Use tooth picks and midget gems to construct a skeletal view of a 2 by 2 by 2 cube with one route ‘down’ the cube.

How many routes are there on the surface of the cube from A to B?
(No `backtracking’ allowed, i.e. each move must be away from A towards B.)


image imageOften the building of 3D solids leads to some not so pretty and poorly constructed shapes, partly due to ‘accidentally’ cutting tabs off and mostly due to poor fine motor skills. I recently read Liz Meenan’s article for the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, who had experienced the same and in her article she talks about pull-up nets.

The nets are constructed pretty much as usual, however there are no tabs but instead small holes in strategically
placed corners. A thread is then looped through these holes in order, pull on the thread to pull-up your 3D shape.

Check out the full ATM article by Liz Meenan here.

imageNet Profit- add some challenge to the pull-up cube activity with this nRich task.

The diagram shows the net of a cube. Which edge meets the edge X when the net is folded to form the cube? More questions and solutions here.



I absolutely love making the pop-up Spider for a Halloween activity. The pop-up spider is a dodecahedron painted black. Check out our blog post here for this and other Halloween maths ideas.IMG00133-20111104-1331

Alternatively, get pupils to construct equilateral triangles using a compass, therefore create the net for this pop-up octahedron. Check out our post ‘A lesson off-never’ here for further details.

n-Rich Dodecamagic


Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron which is a solid made up of pentagonal faces.  Using twenty of the numbers from 1 to 25, each vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal face add up to 65. The number F is the number of faces of the solid. Can you find all the missing numbers?

You might like to make a dodecahedron (pop up or not) and write the numbers at the vertices.

Check out the n-Rich task here.

n-Rich Magic Octahedron

imageIn a Magic Octahedron, the four numbers on the faces that meet at a vertex add up to make the same total for every vertex. If the letters F,G,H,J and K are replaced with the numbers 2,4,6,7 and 8, in some order, to make a Magic octahedron, what is the value of G+J? Click here for the website and access to solutions.

Build-Up (Virtually) with Building Houses

This can be used on the interactive whiteboard to build with ‘virtual’ cubic cubes by pupils or teacher. The shape can be rotated to consider different views (side/front elevation etc). Check out the website here. Colleen Young has a great blog on the use of this app, check it out here.

Thank you for reading NumberLoving!

Spooktacular Colour by Numbers

30 Oct

Colour by number is a well known childhood activity and in most cases requires no maths other than number recognition.

paint by number completepaint by number blank






Take for example this Halloween Scarecrow picture, which I have completed online using the Color It by Numbers website here. As you can see each number represents a particular colour and once finished the image is more defined.

To add difficulty to this activity each number can be replaced by a question with that numerical answer. For example this pumpkin colour by number requires students to solve the equations to find the value of x. Each answer is then one of the five colours. This worksheet can be downloaded from, which is a free account based website.

I am still not satisfied that there is enough challenge for all pupils, in which case I use a blank template such as this bat picture below taken from here, and ask pupils to create their own question with the correct numerical values for which ever topic is most relevant. blank bat

You could ask pupils to create a set of questions limited by topic area for example; BIDMAS, solving equations, area, perimeter, evaluating formulae, alternatively pupils could create it based on a number of topics recently studied. Their work (when checked) could then be given an a starter of homework activity for another class.

Other Halloween Activities we Love

Relay Races

halloween relayWe love relay races as a great team and review activity, check out our blog post here about how to run a relay race. A collection of relay races for all occasions, not just Halloween, can be downloaded from here made by Chris Smith @AAP03102.

Skeleton Rotational Symmetry


Check out our post on making some Halloween decorations using rotational symmetry here.

Witches Brew

witches brew

Check out our blog here.

Thank you for reading NumberLoving!

Sharon and Laura


Volume with Mario and Luigi

30 Oct

angry2One of our most popular blog posts to date has been “Nets to catch Angry Birds” (view here) in which these computer game characters are constructed into 3D shapes using nets. Leading to investigations about area, volume, surface area and scale factors and some great display work.

In our pursuit to continue to “Pimp Our Displays” as described in an earlier post here, I wanted to do something different to Angry Birds. I’ll admit I am not an avid game player at all but even I know Minecraft is big and very ‘blocky’ in its nature, so I went searching and it really didn’t take long, here is what I found. First I came across this TES resource, which includes the net of a Minecraft zombie and creeper, this was uploaded by Daniohara.

minecraft_steveSome further research and I found blog by Steven Bear and his printable resources on his post “Minecraft Mob” here. His post includes nets to build Steve the Minecraft character, shown on the left. Nets to make the Creeper, the Pig, the Zombie and the Spider.

Barking Dog also provides printable nets for the Minecraft materials such as sand, dirt, stone and grass, check it out here. And check out a Minecraft Fan Club page here with more printable nets.

I was still not satisfied, I continued to think about how I could bring the classwork into a great display and bingo I thought Mario! Mario is timeless, everyone knows Mario, Luigi, those blocks and that tune!

Wow check out this site Deviant Art and from here I downloaded the resources ready for the Mario class and display work. So the plan is to print these in full colour, pupils can then construct, consolidating their learning about surface area. I will then make a Mario 3D display, by having at least two separate rows of 3D mystery blocks and 3D versions of Mario, Luigi and the other characters. I will then get the pupils to do the calculations of volume or surface area alongside the display!

Check these out nets;

mario_bros___cubeecraft___papercraft_by_marcokobashigawa-d6z2mps cube mariomushroom
luigi_mario_bros___cubeecraft___papercraft_by_marcokobashigawa-d6z2luxSo what if Mario is not your thing, just image search “Cubecraft Cartoons” and if there is a cartoon character you can think of I bet it is there!

Thanks for reading NumberLoving, we hope you find the ideas useful!

Pimp Your Displays

25 Oct

Hello Readers!

Its been a while since we’ve blogged, we promise it’s for a good reason as we work behind the scenes on the next phase for NumberLoving which we can’t wait to share!! Watch this space!

In the meantime, I want to talk about ‘pimping’ those display! This year one of our focuses is displays, in and out of the classroom. We want to not only update them but reinvigorate them, move away from the dull, unnegiotable displays that have existed for years, to exciting and moveable, easily updated and useful displays!! This year we are rotating department time around the maths classrooms, each teacher hosts; setting up tables, providing a puzzle and putting the kettle! The department then decide on 2 stars and a wish for the room! I got this idea from Mr Jon Colebrook @ColebrookJon at the SSAT London Achievement Show 2015, so simple but effective as everyone takes pride in their classroom and the learning environment they provide!

Celebrating Pupil Work

Great Work Hangs Out Here












Check out my newest display, eagerly awaiting great work! The pegs make this one of the most versatile displays for celebrating pupils work. I’ve used it to peg Y12 A Level maths work up after marking a homework assessment. Also great during the lesson to peg examples of excellent answers!

I also love ‘This work is Incredible’ with Hulk presiding over the work shared by @HeadofEnglish here! Another example using pegs for interchangeable displays!

Variations on this could be an ‘In the Spotlight” display using paper that looks like stage spotlight and a “Wall of Fame”.

How do you measure up?measure2

This display is perfect for the classroom or communal areas to encourage numeracy conversations as well as give pupils more experience of estimating heights. Using a printed ruler (or Ikea paper rulers), pinned at the correct height. Update regularly with the heights and pictures of the latest A-Z list celebrities.

BIDMAS/Countdown Corner

Simple idea, give pupils a target and they have to use the operations to make the target number just like the game show.

Alternatively create a countdown corner. Great for starters, or on-going challenges.

How to Learn Mathsimage

I found this great resource on the TES website here, by Complex_Number. I agree completely that we have to encourage pupils to recognise mistakes as learning opportunities! I printed two copies on two different colours to create two displays for different classrooms by mixing up the colours! Here is one of the displays

Area Perimeter Door


Simply use the classroom  door to remind pupils of the difference between area and perimeter.


Using pre-cut lettering alongside a door or a window to provide this visual of the key terminology.


Suduko Challenge

imageInteractive display, I let pupils complete the suduko. By using PVC electrical tape I have created a damage free display on a painted wall. The tape peels away leaving no marks. You can see the black velcro tabs, these are placed on top of the yellow tape, i.e. damage free walls and a great activity.

The pouch at the bottom holds the remaining cards and a book of suduko’s of varying challenge.

This display is total versatile because it is essential a 9 by 9 grid. Therefore it can also be used when teaching place value, multiplying and dividing by powers of ten, translations, enlargements, coordinates and so much more!

Mathematics Around the World

Create a display by asking pupils to create a Facebook profile for famous mathematicians from around the world and use string to show their country. Thank you to Mrs Walters for this awesome display!

Instant Display Work

barchartPost-it notes and window crayons, rolls of back paper, magic whiteboard and any surface can become a display area.

We have blogged about window crayons before, check out our blog here.

Magic whiteboard, wallpaper rolls also great to create instant display of pupils’ work.


So many great bunting ideas to choose from JustMaths have blogged here about A-Z keyword bunting here. Or Miss Radders discusses how to make bunting from old maths text books here. Also MissBResource’s has an awesome collection of display resources including shape and formulae (by Mr Collins) bunting here.

imageAlternatively make your own like Mr Saunder’s specially requested ‘Maths is Boss’ bunting.

Literacy in Maths Displays

Mrs Rojas shares how she has created her boggle display here and includes free printables. This is my next project which is ideal for the maths classroom too!

Pupils have to make words using the letters on display, award double points for mathematical words. Increase the difficulty by adding the rule that the letters must ‘connect’, vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Using sticky back Velcro again allows the alphabet cards to be changed on a daily basis!image

Key Action Words

In every maths classroom, all the key action words. These are referred to on a daily basis.

Corridor Displays

Elements of Maths: From the awesome Just Maths team find their elements of maths display and resources here. Great for classroom or department display.

Room Numbers: Pimp your room numbers, instead of 5 use operations that give an answer of 5.

Celebration Wall: Celebrate success in using Wall of Fame, in the spotlight!

NumberLoving’s Display Shopping List

Pegs– essential to make your displays interchangeable.

Pre-cut lettering– Widely available on the internet, or if your DT has a laser cutter get them to cut some out! How have I not known about this until now?!

Velcro tabs– these provide another way of keeping your displays adaptable (Suduko or Boggle). Remember stick these on top of PVC electrical tape to avoid damage to walls.

Velcro Wall- Use felt to create a velcro wall, a great idea shared at the recent school Learning Fair by Miss Austin.

Laminator– Essential, means you can keep display for re-use in a year or two or in another classroom.

String or Ribbon– for bunting or clothes line (see great work hangs out here)

Sticky Back Plastic– reinvigorate old filing cabinets or book shelves!

Window Crayons- instant display as pupils complete questions on glass

Thank you for reading NumberLoving!

Tweet us @numberloving

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