Crazy Animals
Years K - 10

Younger children will need help with this investigation.


  • Print this Crazy Animals sheet and cut the three animals into parts shown on the drawings.
    Wiith younger children you might decide to begin with just two animals.
  • Find one (1) cube dice. (Your phone might have a dice app.)
  • Write the title of this challenge and today's date on a fresh page in your maths journal.

Investigating Crazy Animals

Crazy Animals are made by mixing up heads, bodies and legs.
  • Open this Crazy Animals Starter.
    You can read it on screen or print it.
  • Before you start the Challenge on the Starter, record your answers to Questions 1 & 2
    in your journal.
    See examples below of recording by five (5) year olds.
    An adult has written the child's comment.
  • Go on with the Challenge when you have recorded.
    If you are only using two (2) animals the Dice Rules become:
    • Odd Number (or 1, 2, 3) ... Animal A
    • Even Number (or 4, 5, 6) ... Animal B
Have fun exploring Crazy Animals.

These animals would look crazy too
if you hadn't seen them before.

Journal writing by 5 year olds at Neerabup Primary School. Click an image to see an enlargement. An adult wrote what each child said.


Learning More With Crazy Animals

Tree Diagrams
A tree diagram can be used to help solve problems that involve choice.
This is a tree diagram for Crazy Animals.

Answer these questions in your journal.

  • How many animals were used in this game? How do you know?
  • Which animals were they? How do you know?
  • How many parts were the animals cut into? How do you know?
  • How many crazy animals were made altogether in this game?
  • Write the names of each of the crazy animals in the same order (left to right) as the picture.
  • Try to draw a tree diagram for a game with three (3) crazy animals.
Venn Diagrams
A Venn diagram can be used to see show how the sets of data in a problem are connected.
This is a Venn diagram for Crazy Animals.
The name is spelt with a capital V because they were invented by John Venn around 1880.

Answer these questions in your journal.

  • Copy the sketch into journal so it takes at least half a page.
    Don't copy the animals that are already written there.
  • The animals that are written are made from just the horse and the giraffe.
    How does the diagram show that?
  • Put your horse and giraffe beside each other.
    Show yourself how the Haffe has been made then write it in.
  • Repeat for all the other names in this part of the diagram.
  • Are there any other 3 part animals made from just the horse and the giraffe?
    How do you know?
  • How many 3 part animals can be made using the horse and the duck?
    Put their names on your diagram.
  • How many 3 part animals can be made using the giraffe and the duck?
    Put their names on your diagram.
  • Explain what the section in the middle of the diagram means.
    Predict how many animals should be in this section, then write in their names.
  • There should be twenty-seven (27) animal names on the diagram.
    Have you got them all?
To work out the number of animals in the middle you could think about the number of choices.
  • The animals in the middle must have one piece from each animal.
    • Head first - 3 choices
    • Body second - 2 choices (because one animal has been used for the head)
    • Legs third - 1 choice because the other animals have already given their part.
  • So, for each of the 3 head choices there 2 body choices and then the rest is automatic.
  • That's two body choices for that head, another two for that head and another two for that head. Then only one other choice - the automatic one.
  • The equation that summarises this is 3 x 2 x 1 = 6.
  • Create and explain an equation that calculates the total number of crazy animals if 3 animals are split into 3 parts?
  • What is the total if 3 animals are split into only 2 parts?
  • What happens if 2 animals are split into 3 parts?
  • What happens if 4 animals are split into 3 parts?
  • The next mathematician's question might be:
    If I tell you any number of animals and any number of parts, can you tell me how to work out the total number of crazy animals?

Just Before You Finish

For this part you need your maths journal and your Working Like A Mathematician page.
  • Look back through your Crazy Animals work and compare to Working Like A Mathematician.
    In what ways have you worked like a mathematician during this investigation.
  • What maths stuff did you learn during this investigation?
  • Which part of Crazy Animals was the most interesting? Why?


Answers & Discussion

These notes were originally written for teachers. We have included them to support parents to help their child learn from Crazy Animals.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre