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Summer Projects

29 Jul

Summer is here and now we can get stuck into those projects requiring a little more time. Here we have listed a wide range of projects that will keep you busy over the summer holidays.

Get Making

Maths Dance Mats

Make a class set for use on any topic with numerical answers. Check out our post “Dance Maths” for details on making the mats and resources to use with the mats are also available.

Instant Pie Charts

These have so many uses from the teaching of pie charts itself to its use in group tasks to rate participation rates of individuals, to measuring a pupils understanding. Easily made using four different colours of paper, and slotted together. Check out our post “Instant Graphs” for further details on making and using the pie chart wheels, as well as free resources to make and use with the wheels.

How do you Measure Up? Display

Make or update your height measuring display in your classroom, and why not post around the school in communal areas and even the staff room. Update with winners from the Olympics, or today’s favourite celebrities.

Check out our post “Pimp your classroom” for our free tape measure and other ideas to jazz up your classroom for September.

Top Trumps

Print and laminate a few sets of top trumps, a wide range is available on our TES resource site here. Each set is differentiated red (easy), amber and green. We have found they last longer if cut out and then laminated. Well worth it!

Check out our post “Maths Top Trumps & Other Games”, with details of how pupils can play the game and links to all top trump resources.


Tarsia Software

Tarsia jigsaw and dominoes software is great and as many colleagues have shared their jigsaws on the TES resource site or here on Mr Barton’s site, if you haven’t yet made use of it now is the time!

Check out our post “Tarsia puzzles- things you didn’t know” for more ideas on how to use the software to its full potential.


Free web-based graphing software and much much more. Download to your desktop now here, offline installation also available.

Prezi Desktop

The zooming presentation software. Check out our post “Get onto Present & Collaborate”, with links to some of our own presentations. Ideal software for wowing everyone at the September inset day!

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Wallwisher can be used as your very own internet based notice board, use effectively with class investigations. As pupils complete investigations they post their findings onto the wall. Sign up for this free posting wall here. Check out our post “Computer room lessons sorted- no mymaths required” for more online tools we recommend.

NRich Postcards

Nrich offer a service to provide postcards for free, each postcard includes a puzzle to solve, just sign up here stating how many of each you would like to receive. These are great for leaving in communal areas around the school, or use as praise postcards home.

BP trading game

Access and download the free BP educational resource, game is available at two levels of difficulty. Pupils trade in oil, making decisions based on news updates. Check out our post “BP Trading Game- Enterprise/STEM/Maths”, here you will find our adapted resources to use with the game.



Hammer beads

These can be bought from most toy stores, we found Ikea’s to be a bargain at £5 see here. Check out our post “Hammer Beads & Symmetry”, where we use these beads to create symmetrical patterns. Use as an end of topic activity or great for open evenings.

Finger Puppets

Another investment from Ikea, a pack of 10 for £4, check out here. Check out our post “Puppets go the distance with speed & time” , here we describe using the puppets to create stories to match a given distance/time graph.

Rulers (& pencils)

Whilst at Ikea take advantage of their free rulers and grab yourself a set. Check out our post “Teaching Loci”, here we describe guiding pupils under given rules of loci and a paper ruler to create locus of points.

Window crayons

We  love using our windows for displays, puzzles, assessment for learning and found window crayons to be the best tools for the job. Check out our post “Who wants clean windows” for further details, get creative!


Avoid sweet treats and instead reward pupils with mathematical based puzzle such as these Rubik cube key rings. Check out our post “On our best Behaviour” for other ideas for rewards.

Geek glasses

Essential for when you promote pupils to be experts, either they finish and become markers  or are already designated as examiners with a given mark scheme (or self created markscheme). I use cinema 3D glasses with the lenses popped out, also great for control pupil movement in class when running  a treasure hunt with a lively group. Pupils can only be out of their seat if they have the glasses on, limiting movement as each group only have one pair of glasses.

Clock for classroom

Every classroom needs one, a mathematical clock like this equation clock. There are also a number of variations available. Check out our post “Equation clocks and more”.

Post It Notes

Well worth the investment, reasonably priced from most stationary stores. Check out our post “Post-it Addict” jam packed of different uses for post-it notes in lessons!

For more ideas check out our posts on Outdoor Learning and see if these fit into your department calendar.
Have a great summer! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Your best ever investment – A puzzle box

2 Feb

The best gift I have ever received (from numberloving co-author Sharon Derbyshire as it happens) is my puzzle box. And yes, this is exactly what you think, a box full of puzzles.

This little box is a life saver at the end of term if like me you refuse to put on Miss Congeniality, or for all those times when for whatever reason you end up having a twenty-minute lesson, or only ten students in the class, or your IWB goes into melt down and you’ve got no board pen… I could go on.

Students love playing with these puzzles and it is time spent well for lots of reasons, so here’s the numberloving wish list for your very own puzzle box

1) Tantrix

This is my favourite puzzle game, you have to fit together hexagonal shaped pieces so that they form loops of different colours. The pieces are very tactile and there are lots of options for play depending on the difficulty you want, these are well worth the investment.

2) Impuzzable cubes or the Bedlam cube

These are loved by students and they will be surprisingly patient in their approach, they basically have to fit some 3d shapes together to make a cube shape. This is great for their spatial awareness and understanding of volume.

3) Rubix Cube

This is obviously a favourite of the students but they will spend forever twisting it around and not getting anywhere so to make it worthwhile teach yourself how to solve them (there are lots of websites with simple methods – I use the layer method) and then you can teach the students the strategy.

4) Sudoku

Print and laminate and allow students to solve using whiteboard markers. If you are really organised then print them onto different colours depending on the ability. Check out our archives for a blog all about Sudoku and beyond!

5) Frog Puzzle

We have all heard of the puzzle where the three frogs on the left have to swap places with the three on the right, print and laminate instructions and some frog pictures (or I bought some little frog toys off ebay). You can even get them to find the pattern as the number of frogs increase and work out the nth term!

6) General Number Puzzles

This is a brilliant set of general number puzzles, I can’t remember where I picked it up. Print and laminate and away you go. You can even use these as starters or weekly form time puzzles.

7) Pentominoes

Print and laminate these pentominoes and get students to try and fit them together in a rectangle, there are lots of potential solutions but it may be worthwhile printing sections of some solutions to help them get started.

8) Wooden puzzles

These and lots of others can be found on where they are classified by difficulty which is very helpful!

Ebay is also a great place to find some of these puzzles for those of us on a budget. Any other ideas for additions to my own puzzle box would be much appreciated, get puzzling! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our TES NumberLoving Store for free and premium resources.

Sudoku Master? Go Beyond with these puzzles.

20 Dec

You may have read my previous post about Sudoku’s and the many variations that I have found over the years to keep the challenge and mind thinking! So beyond the classic and more challenging Sudoku’s I moved on again.

So I searched out other logic, number games and came across this book by Chambers “Beyond Sudoku; Japenese number puzzles”. I would recommend it, I have actually two copies one for personal use the other I have cut up and laminated for in use in the classroom.

Hashi- Also known as bridges

One of my favourites and very easy to get the hang of but challenging enough! The circles represent islands to be connected by bridges. The number indicates the number of bridges connected to that island, the maximum number of bridges between two island is two (beware this doesn’t isolate the islands). is a great place for all the following puzzles, create a free puzzle and you can save it for later. Another site with over 2 million puzzles has enough to keep those brains ticking over the Christmas break.

Kakuro- Also known as cross sums

It looks like a cross word but the numbers don’t lead to a written clue the numbers are the clue, as well as the number of cells. The number represents the total of the digits for example if a total is 3 and there are only two cells, you know the two digits are 1 and 2. This is a good starting point! Though I must admit I have not truly mastered the kakuro and so found these tips useful.

For a free daily puzzle click here.

Hanjie- Also known as Griddler, Nonagram or Paint by numbers

A blank grid, at the end of each row and column the number identifies the number of cells that need to be shaded as part of the picture. Remember that a comma between each number indicates at least one square gap. Good website to play easy to hard hanjie games online but you can not save your game. Once you’ve got the hang of the controls this is a great piece of free software. However if you sign up for free with you can save your games for later!

Slither Link Also known as fences

This game takes me back to playing boxes with my grandparents as a young child. Although this game you do connect the dots you do not make boxes, but instead one big island. The number refers to the number of lines, the maximum being 3 sides (anymore would create an isolated island). Best hint I got was to find the 0’s next to a 3, as the side between the two can not be an edge therefore the other 3sides of the number 3 must be!

The Krazydad website has lots of slitherlink puzzles of varying degrees of diffulty as well as variations on the classic game. My favourite the Rhomboid slitherlinks and there are 100 downloadable books enough to keep even I busy! Also it would be rude to not pay special attention to the snowflake slitherlink at this time of year.


Each cell in the end will contain a number, the number identifies how many cells of the same number are joined. For example 2, means there are two squares with the digit 2 in, therefore no adjoining cells can be part of a 2 formation. Fillomino strategies are available here, I found these useful. For your daily online fillomino online game click here. An archive of printable fillomino’s are available here.


The aim of the game is to determine if a cell is white and therefore part of an island, or black and part of the connecting canals. The numbers refer to the number of cells in an island, no islands can be connected horizontally or vertically, where as canals must all be connected. Try online here.


Create a mosaic using the information, similar to minesweeper. The number refers to how many cells should be shaded in that and the surrounding cells, i.e. the maximum is 9. Identifying the 9’s and the 0’s is a good starting point. A free download is available here. For some strategies and tips click here.


Starting with a complete grid of digits, you eliminate numbers so that no digit recurrs in the same column or row, no shaded squares can touch creating one big island. Again allows you to play online and save your games for later.

I am sure here at numberloving we will find plenty more to add to this list so check up on us regularly. If you have any that you recommend get in touch by leaving a comment below, we would love to hear and set ourselves a new challenge.

Keep those brains ticking over the Christmas break. Merry Christmas!

Pushing the Sudoku Boundaries!

16 Dec

Try these numberloving favourites!

I was first introduced to Sudoku as a NQT ten years ago and found this puzzle right up my street. I am sure many of you know how to complete a Sudoku puzzle, this article concentrates on puzzles beyond the basic Sudoku. For beginners click here for hints and tips on the classic puzzle.

So what happens when you breeze through [most] sudoku challenges found in newspapers and magazines alike? Or you maybe simply looking for a new logic challenge! Well I recommend the samurai Sudoku. As you can see this joins five classic sudoku to get your brains really working.

Click here for a daily samurai Sudoku, or tap into its archives and puzzles can be printed (myself I prefer to print as a break from the computer). Or there are many books like The Times Samurai Su Doku available through online bookstores.

Way beyond the classic Sudoku is Kuboku a 3D Sudoku cube game created by Creaceed this app, available for £1.49 (at time of publishing). The video below gives a demonstration of Kuboku, don’t forget you get extra Kuboku points if you can complete it faster. You will be interested to know there is no sound in the game, unlike the video!

For a 3D Sudoku in 2D try this flip pad, also known as Tredoku. Tredoku keeps to the same rules as classic Sudoku with the added dimensions or corners which need to be considered whilst completing. Some printable Tredoku available here.

Also don’t forget killer Sudoku, in this game not only do the digits 1-9 have to be placed in the same way as classic Sudoku but you are only given guidance on the total of groups of numbers. Therefore knowing combinations of digits for a given total is helpful. This is an example of one online playing site, there are many available. I use that particular site as its archives are easy to navigate.

New to myself, and frustratingly yet to fully master is the greater than and less than Sudoku, as shown on the right. Again the ultimate goal of placing digits 1 to 9 are the same, however the only hints you are given are the inequalities < or >. I found A day in the Life‘s blog helpful and need to dedicate time to completing one of these over the Christmas break. Play online here, or some print and play here.

The Bermuda Triangle Sudoku game, is a nice twist, with triangle placement of the digits 1-9 as well as colour coordination. Luckily the sound can be muted once the game has begun by clicking on the word sound in the top left corner.

Many of these variations named above are available online, or as a downloadable app for those with a smartphone and on the move. Here is a list of recommended websites for Sudoku. If you have an favourites to add to the list please your comment, authors of Numberloving are always looking for a new puzzle challenge!

Merry Christmas!

Numberloving does not endorse any product or site, we merely blogging about our favourites. There are of course other sites/books/sellers to get these services.

Numeracy Coordinator – Making the role count!

13 Nov

The Numeracy Across the Curriculum (NAC) role hit the big time in 2001, following Ofsted’s primary numeracy evaluation all secondary schools were expected to hold a whole school NAC launch. At the time the role was introduced and many teachers will remember having whole school training and establishment of a school calculation policy in which all staff would multiply in the same way etc. School policies were drawn up and unfortunately for some schools numeracy stopped there. Whilst other schools developed projects ensuring numeracy truly was across the curriculum.

The role has (or should have) changed and evolved in terms of its purpose and aims for the academic year. If it hasn’t changed in your school it needs to, I hope this post will give some ideas of how to make a big impact. Don’t miss section 4, which for me was the start of revolutionising the role within my school.
1) Getting the Job Itself!

Is it an enviable job? Probably not, as it’s limitless possibilities can make the role daunting at first. For myself, once settled in, the lack of rules or limits allowed me to experiment, raise the profile of numeracy and the mathematics department, and hopefully inspire all those around me to love numbers the way I do!

Job specification from Norfolk county council and Riding’s school job description both detail the need for high communication skills.

2) Getting Started; Some useful Numeracy documents

It is important to determine the numeracy needs of your school in order to begin making a whole school impact. In order to do this I would recommend departments are asked to audit/detail when and how they include numeracy within their subjects. This could be done using this Numeracy Audit for departments and to determine staff training needs this could be used E3_numeracy_checklist.

I found Leicestershire County Council’s Numeracy Across the Curriculum, Key Stage 3 and 4 booklet most useful when starting in the role of numeracy coordinator. This is guidance of how to establish the role of numeracy coordinator, including adaptable policies and in particular ideas of how to raise the profile of mathematics. For me this was most important as I felt the role needed a shake up, and its impact needed to change the opinions of colleagues whom for many did not see the need for a numeracy coordinator role. Luckily they do now! Other policies such as St Alban’s Numeracy policy can be downloaded here, The Friary School policy is also available, as is Hazelwick’s policy.

Leistershire County Council’s Calculations Policy can be downloaded and adapted to suit your school’s needs.

The Mathszone website has a wealth of resources that could help in preparing to deliver inset to your school, as a source of ideas which you can then develop to be suitable for your school and its numeracy needs, in addition a How To booklet to be downloaded.

3) Spread the word; Get other departments involved

It is important that numeracy is detailed in schemes of work, however this was needed 10 years ago. For my school it was important to update new schemes but more important than this is to ensure that numeracy was not just an add on. Departments need support and guidance to ensure they provide opportunities for numeracy learning and not just numeracy content.

Suffolk Maths Team have developed a useful website which has downloadable resources and ideas of how numeracy can be delivered in other subject areas.

Maths Across the Curriculum– three easy projects to introduce ideas linking numeracy within PE and story time.

Here are two lists of how departments may link numeracy within their subject area. Maths Across The Curriculum and Numeracy in subjects.

Golden ratio in art is a one lesson project the art department and I developed to follow the completion of face portraits to see if pupils faces are following the golden ratio.

4) Raising the profile;

It is vital to use the role as numeracy coordinator to raise the profile of mathematics around the school and the community.

What better then to see both pupils and teachers using numeracy skills during break time! Getting pupils interested in numeracy is easy by setting challenges and puzzles around the school. Some puzzles were put on the flat screen TVs around school, however engagement was not huge. I wondered if the pupils had become de-sensitised to technology, so introduced the use of magic whiteboard as seen on Dragon’s den, this static write on material was great for use on the glass stairs. Alternatively use the glass pens as discussed in the previous post “Who wants Clean Windows”. Here are my ideas;

a) How many steps in the school? This had a great impact as we moved into our new Building School’s for the future (BSF) building which resembles a cube, pupils were encouraged to investigate their new school environment. Watching pupils climbing up and down the stairs in atrium counting was the pleasant reminder of how mathematical inquisitive people naturally are.

b) How many rectangles in the school ceiling? As you can see the schools building is made up of many rectangles, what else could be counted in your school? You could ask what is the total of the classroom room numbers.

c) How many seconds left of 2010? This would need updating to 2011 and a start time given, this was a great one for the school newsletter.

d) How do you measure up? I placed these measuring tapes and heights of famous people around the school with a poster asking “How do you measure up?” . Pupils were measuring themselves, comparing to their favourite celebrity as well as each other.

e) Distances here to… Around school I placed distances from the school to key wonders and places of the world. the measurements were given in both metric and imperial.

f) Playground Fun Introduce hop scotch, paint a chess board and bring mathematics back to the playground. I thought this would only appeal to key stage 3 pupils, however I was proven wrong when year 10 students are regularly taking part in a good old game of hop scotch.

5) Numeracy Day’s and Events

NSPCC world number day, This year the NSPCC’s World Number Day will be on Friday the 2nd of December. On this day your school can fund raise and join in the NSPCC world’s biggest Maths lesson. Registration is free, and once you have registered all the fundraising material can be downloaded ready to use.

World Maths Day from Mathletics will be on March the 2012, registration is free and pupils compete in 60sec games against players from around the world. Register now and book those computer rooms or laptop trolleys.

Four Nations Math Challenge from Mathletics, thank you to Colleen Young’s blog for drawing my attention to this Four Nations event happening this month on the 17th to 18th of November.

NGfL National Numeracy Strategy Resources

5) Form time,

Both literacy and numeracy are delivered during our 25 minute form times. Here are some of the resources used to deliver numeracy to year 11. 1 Y11 Intro 2 Handy Maths 3 Long multiplication 4 Division 5 Maths Command Words Guide

If you like these materials and would like a complete set of materials please follow and leave a comment saying so.

Numeracy Reading Books there are many books available with a mathematical theme for example Sir Cumference: And the Great Knight of Angleland and here is a list of maths_related_books. These can form a numeracy book boxes for reading time during year 7 registration or available in the school library.

I really hope I have given you some ideas for the numeracy role to make it stand out from the crowd, please follow for updates and leave comments of what worked for you.

Thank you all followers for making Number Loving a success! Get in touch @numberloving

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