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Halloween Pop-Up Spiders and 3D Shapes

22 Oct

Our next idea for a mathematical Halloween activity involves 3D shapes. Using a pop-up dodecahedron pupils can review the properties of 3D shapes such as vertices, faces and edges and have a great pop-up spider to take home.

Where’s the maths

  • Nets of 3D shapes
  • Properties of shapes; faces, edges and vertices
  • Planes of symmetry
  • Angle properties of each face of the dodecahedron

You will need

  • Template of a dodecahedron, download one from Sen teacher website from here.
  • Some black card
  • Elastic bands
  • Black pipe cleaners for the legs
  • Elastic bands for pop-up ability
  • Stick on eyes


Download a template of a dodecahedron from here the SEN website and use as a template.

Cut out the dodecahedron on black card but separate into two pieces like this;

Now test the pop-up ability of your spider by following this quick video;

Then decorate your spiders with eyes and legs made from pipe cleaners! Alternatively make a normal 3D Dodecahedron to make a spider that does not pop-up!

We like to hear how the ideas worked for you and would love to see a picture of any spiders made by your class!

Check this out made by @jonsmcest!

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

Skeletons, Ghouls and Rotational Symmetry

5 Oct

Amazing Skeleton snowflake by She Walks Softly Author and a great demonstration of rotational symmetry.

This Ghouls and bats template can be downloaded from here, courtesy of Extreme Cards Blog Spot showing rotational symmetry of order four.

halloween kirigami

A wide variety of creepy snowflake templates can be downloaded from PaperPumpkins

A rotational spider template can be downloaded from New Halloween Games here.

These snowflakes are great and look amazing when done but they require a steady hand. Instead you could ask pupils to create their own spooky snowflake with a given order of symmetry.

Check out Matters of Grey and Anthony Herrera’s star wars snowflakes which are fabulous and should be kept in mind for Christmas.

Join this activity with the hama bead activity described in Hama Bead & Symmetry blog here for another rotational symmetry activity, you may want to buy extra orange and black beads for Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Number Loving! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Hama beads & Symmetry

6 Jun

When I was younger I loved hama beads, for those who haven’t used them they are little cylindrical beads which you arrange on a grid, when you are happy with your creation you iron over the beads and they bond together. When studying lines of symmetry what better way to test student understanding than by asking them to create their own pattern. I did this with my low ability year 7’s, I differentiated by letting them pick the number of lines of symmetry which they had in their pattern. I had also drawn lines of symmetry on some of the grids for the weakest students. They loved it and even stayed at break to make another one!

You can buy hama beads and the grids off ebay or amazon but most toy stores sell them too, for a class you only need a small amount but I would buy a medium pack so you don’t run out of any colours.  If your class do this we would love to see their work, tweets us @laurareeshughes and @numberloving 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 included in the resource.

There are plenty of videos like the one below which also show how to fold.

Playing the game

Again we have included instructions for those who have forget how to play. You can also check out this post.

Each purchase includes a blank version, 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.

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

Bearings and Angles – Outdoor Learning Day IV

8 Mar

Sun Dials are amazing little things which are relatively easy to make and use. This is a nice activity to use when studying angles and bearings to get students applying them in real-life. You can give students a template like the this one which comes as a base and a gnomon, or this one which is in one piece. Or you can get them to construct it themselves using a protractor and measuring the appropriate number of degrees between each line (see one of the templates). Then get them outside, they will a need a compass (ask the geography department maybe, or get them to download a compass app like this one). They should point their sundial to the north and hey presto read off the time! They could record the time and calculate the difference between this and the time on a digital watch so you can discuss the accuracy of their sun dials!

On the topic of bearings, a great activity is to set students a scavenger hunt around the playground using bearings (again you could get them to download an app to their phones). Place clues in specific places so students can follow one clue to the next. You may want to set several routes or set students off at different times. This really gets students thinking (and remembering) about bearings and never again will you see them written as two figures!

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

Symmetry and Tessellations – Outdoor learning day 3

7 Mar

Time for the third instalment of outdoor learning, today two simple ideas which allow students to explore symmetry and tessellation. 

Light Sensitive Paper

Light sensitive paper allows you to print a silhouette of anything you want, you place it on the paper in sunlight for a few minutes and then place in cold water to set the image. Can be purchased from lots of places on-line, the cheapest I have found is here. So, get students to search outside for any natural objects which have symmetry – don’t tell them but leaves work particularly well, or flowers. Then they can make a print of the object using the paper, back in the classroom they can stick their image on some poster paper and use this to annotate their image and explain the lines and rotational symmetry.

Tessellations rubs

Given a sheet of A3 paper and a wax crayon students can make a ‘tessellation rub’ they need to find something outdoors which exhibits tessellation and then place their paper over it and rub with their crayon to produce a sort of relief image. Bricks, tiles, paving slabs, door panels and tyres all work really well for this. Back in the classroom they can again annotate this to explain the shapes, angles and why the tessellation works.

These two activities can be run as a mini project in the same lesson with the focus being shape properties in real-life – get some nice display work going on!  Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Outdoor Learning Day 2 – Parachutes

6 Mar

This project involves measures, shape, construction, area, surface area, speed and averages, phew!

Basically students construct the da Vinci parachute which is basically a square based pyramid. Then they test their parachutes and re-design them to increase the surface area! This is the Powerpoint I use for this project, I would run this over three lessons as follows:

Lesson 1:

Play the video on slide 2 and get students to think about where the maths is in parachuting (they should come up with lots of interesting ideas). Then show them the net for the da Vinci parachute, give them (in pairs) a piece of paper (sugar paper works best) and let them construct the parachute. They need to cut a hole in the top of it about 1cm in diameter, then attach a weight of their choice (a small blob of blue-tack works well). Then they can design a data collection sheet to use in lesson 2.

Lesson 2:

You need to find somewhere the students can drop their parachutes – if you have an upstairs room then they can drop them out the window, or even better a gym with a viewing balcony. Students drop their parachutes and the other member of the pair has to time the drop, they can do the best of three and then calculate an average and the range. Back in the classroom they can then discuss how to improve the design – hopefully they will see they need to increase the surface area. So get them to calculate the surface area and then design a new parachute with a greater surface area.

Lesson 3:

Students finish constructing their re-designed parachute and then test them again, back in the classroom they can compare their two sets of results using an average and the range and conclude which design was better.

This project was planned with the brilliant maths department at All Saints Centre for Learning in Merseyside. Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

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