Maths At Home


Supporting learners, parents, teachers and schools



10 Most Recent Additions

Find them in the Learners link.

  • Protons & Anti-Protons (4-10)
    ... Protons and Anti-Protons are particles with the interesting property that equal numbers of them annihilate each other. Therefore when equal numbers of them are present they have a net zero effect. This is a simplified version of an aspect of particle physics, but sufficiently accurate to be worth exploring further.
    • What happens if we add more particles to a collection?
    • What happens if we subtract some particles from a collection?
    Investigating these questions, using objects as the particles, leads to a model for 'Proton Arithmetic' which is just one small step away from the arithmetic of positive and negative numbers. At the end of the activity the door to that step is tantalizingly opened.
  • Money Charts (2-8)
    ... Text book exercises on adding and subtracting money come to life in this hands-on logic challenge presented as an addition chart. Convention decrees that the value in any box must be the sum of the term at the left end of its row and the term at the top end of its column. The emphasis is on encouraging patient application of if-then reasoning and working backwards, which are effective tools in many problem solving situations. Using coins rather than written amounts aids reasoning, supports childrens' familiarity with coins and, importantly, provides additional information which allows students to self-check their finished chart.
  • Decimals With A Tape (4-8)
    ... In an environment made non-threatening by provision of a measuring tape as a number line model, encouraging estimation, using a calculator for checking and working with a partner, students explore how the four basic operations work with decimals. There is a strong emphasis on conversation and explanation. The objectives are to confirm or correct current knowledge, to develop new knowledge about operating with decimals, and to be able to explain to others how to 'do decimals'. Somewhere in history mathematicians had to do these things, so the activity is totally embedded in the context of learning to work like a mathematician. Decimals With A Tape partners the activity Calculator Slido.
  • In Between Time (4-10)
    ... At first glance this activity might look like a list of exercises about calculating time. But look more closely. It is essential that the learner has an analogue clock which they can manipulate and preferable that they have a partner. The initial challenge is stimulated by a video demonstration in which students are asked to investigate the interconnectedness of the hour and minute hands. The activity moves on to a thirty minute difference to help learners realise that:
    • Time difference can be clockwise or anti-clockwise.
    • If the minute hand moves half an hour, then the hour hand has moved half of its journey towards the next (or previous) hour.
    An extra challenge later in the activity is stimulated by a second video with focus on the second hand and its relationship to minutes.
    In Between Time partners the activity Time Together.
  • Domino Trails (2-6)
    ... Dominoes are a common household 'toy' which can generate mathematical learning at several levels. This activity begins with counting dots, then moves to counting all the dots, then applying the mathematician's question: Can I check it another way?. Later parts of the activity focus on making domino trails made of domino dots that add to a given number. Seeing the dot representation of a trail in various ways, by imagining breaking up and reconnecting the dots, results in several possible equations to record the same domino trail. A feature of the teaching and learning is the opportunity to print off A4 size dominoes for use on the floor - whole body involvement in learning mathematics.
  • Time Together (2-10)
    ... Learners have at least one clock with hands and someone to sit with so two people can have time together. It's even better if they have one clock each. The activity works particularly well if the second person is a parent or older sibling. It begins by talking about, and recording in a journal, everything the learners already know about analogue clock time. Then a recording sheet supports a sequence of short activities which help learners explore the passing of time. The main challenge is to investigate those moments in a 12 hour cycle when the hands are 'on top of each other'. The activity encourages estimation first then checking by turning the clock hands. An extra challenge for the more mathematically mature is to precisely calculate the 'together moments'. The activity also offers experience with the meaning of clockwise and opportunity for informal learning related to counting, angles and fractions.
  • 13 Away (2-7)
    ... The activity begins with a calculator game played by two people on one calculator. The number 13 is entered into the calculator and players take turns to subtract 1 or 2 or 3. The person who has to make the answer zero loses. After a few turns to get used to the game, learners are led to think about developing a winning strategy. Problem solving strategies such as make a model, working backwards and trying every possible case are suggested. Learners are guided through a logical analysis which leads to a number pattern governing the winning moves. Then they are challenged to apply what they have learnt to What happens if...? questions.
  • Training For Maths (4-10)
    ... Easily stated and easily started, but containing plenty of challenge, this activity leads the learner to find Fibonacci Numbers. First the learner tears or cuts a piece of paper to make train carriages which are either 1 or 2 units long. Then the story shell of an engine followed by a sequence of carriages offers gradually more difficult challenges. Learners explore the number of different sequences that can be created for a given train length using only Size 1 and Size 2 carriages. For example for a 3 unit train the engine could haul -111, -21 or ... When Fibonacci numbers appear (through the process of working like a mathematician), the door is open to further investigation of their appearance in nature.
  • Less Than Fractions (4-10)
    ... Number tiles (1 - 9) allow learners to experiment with fractions less than 1 in a hands-on, non-threatening, open-ended way. Early success is guaranteed because there are 36 possible answers and the obvious one is 1/2. The greater challenge is to add two fractions (each tile can be used only once) and still get an answer less than one. Again there are many ways to do this so every learner will find some success. However, a mathematician would ask:
    • How many solutions are there?
    • How do you know when you have found them all?
    and the opportunity to do this is offered. The activity involves comparing fractions to discover which one is less. That skill is explored further in three ways, one of which was invented by a Year 5 student.
  • Rectangle Fractions Game (4-8)
    ... This game for two players is a partner to the activity Rectangle Fractions. It refreshes fraction concepts and develops addition and subtraction skills using a hands-on, straightforward game. Learners first play with a whole rectangle for which playing cards have been provided. They explore several rounds of the game, each of which only takes a few minutes to play. Then they chose their own whole rectangle size and make corresponding playing cards from the blanks supplied. As always keeping a journal is an important part of the activity. Once the game is learned it can be returned to many times, each time facing a new challenge by choosing a new whole rectangle.

Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre