Lessons in Love- Number Love

7 Feb

‘<3’ Is a HEART, composed of two parts.

In Mathematics,  this means “less than three”.

Because in real life, LOVE has no space for a third,

Love is only you and me!

It is that time of year and both NumberLoving authors are feeling the love with two weddings to plan, so here are some more math Valentine’s Day activities!

geometry valentine poems-001Mathematical Valentine Rhyme Challenge

Challenge your pupils to write a mathematical rhyme including a set number of mathematical terms. This is a great idea I found on Craft Moms share blog here and the example on the left is taken from their blog and includes 7 maths terms. I will be challenging my pupils to come up with their rhymes for homework! Check this one out, not by a pupil but still a great poem!

We have a number of Valentine and love themed mysteries, in which pupils use the clues to solve the question. Mysteries are a thinking skills activity;



parallel linesAlso not to be missed;

Check out these blogs for great valentines maths ideas;

Googol power bring a wide variety of activities, I like this activity finding the area and perimeter of hearts. Pupils estimate and for extra challenge ask them to calculate. Even better get pupils to use Desmos as described in Colleen Young’s blog here to create their own heart, math-o-gram. Then ask pupils to find the area and perimeter.

One of my favourite activities making heart shaped mobius strips and other great ideas in our blog “Valentine’s Day, send Mobius Hearts Our Way” for other valentine maths activities. valentines

Make Sierpiński sieve pop heart with instructions from 360 (don’t be put off by the dinosaur).

Speed dating with data collection in this blog we describe how to set up a speed dating activity allowing for data collection.

So who will be your math-en-tine?


AQA Maths Topic Analysis

3 Feb

It’s getting to that time of year where we start to think about year 11 revision, but it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Obviously you speak to your class and you analyse their mock papers but beyond that it’s impossible to revise everything. So, as a starting point I decided to analyse all the AQA Linear Maths papers from the last 4 years to see which topics were a good bet. Here are the top ten topics from higher.


And the top ten topic from foundation.


These results should make for an interesting discussion with your department, there are certainly things which I have never considered revising in detail (like money) but which should offer a good pay off for students. Obviously these results need to be taken with a good dose of common sense too!

If you are with OCR there is a similar analysis available on TES here shared by m34maths.

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 Education.com, 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 Coloritbynumber.com 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 FPS-X-Games.com 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 Taringa.net 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

Buzzing about my new buzzers!

23 Nov

I love my new buzzers and so do the pupils! They add a bit of fun to a wide variety of classroom activities. These farmyard buzzers are called learning resource buzzers and are available here (as well as other places). They are sold in sets of 4, so I have invested in the farmyard set to the left and the answer buzzers below so that I have 8 available.

Simply add to a game a of bingo to add an element of fun, pupils who get a line or a full house press the buzzer instead of shouting bingo. The desks are in groups in my classroom so I place one buzzer on each desk so that it is in arms reach of 5-6 pupils. Check out our blog “Bingo is Jackpot Joy” for other ideas and resources for mathematical bingo.

Again simply put the buzzers in arm reach of groups of pupils when playing countdown. I found this really helps especially when pupils need longer than the standard 30 seconds. Pupils can buzz when they get the answer or depending on ability when they are within 5 of the target number. I use SubTangent countdown here when playing with a class.

81zxyVnDnwL._SL1500_Numbered heads together is a Kagan approach, see previous post here on the cooperative learning techniques including Numbered Heads together. In my buzzer adaptation of the game pupils are put into groups, each group is given a buzzer. All pupils complete a question in silence on mini whiteboards. When they have completed the question they stand up, when the whole team has stood up they can then discuss. If they all agree they press the buzzer, if not they must sit back down again until they can convince each other of the correct answer. I would also use a scoring system similar to the one used for relay races (another fun classroom activity described here in our blog “anything but more past papers” which looks at different ways of revising with exam classes).

So many different ways to use the buzzers, they were more than a worthwhile investment!

NumberLoving is entering its next stage of development and we look forward to bringing you even more in the New Year, make sure you check back soon!

%d bloggers like this: