Dice Game 1

Today we have played a very simple, yet very effective dice game.

The game was for 2 players. The first to score a total of 250 or higher wins! In turns each were to roll three dice (any numbered dice work but we played with 1-6). The player then has the TOUGH choice to add two of them together and then multiply their answer by the third dice … DECISIONS, DECISIONS!

Casino dice

For example:

Player 1 rolls three dice and scores a 4, 6 and 2. How can they now score the highest score:

2+4 = 6 x 6 = 36 or

4+6 = 10 x 2 = 20 or

2 + 6 = 8 x 4 = 32

Players keep a running total!

Lots of fun, lots of calculating, lots of FUN MATHS!

Dice 3 Dice 2 Dice 1

Y6 Decimal challenges

Aiming for the 3rd generation lessons again (or at least ones that they’ll remember) this week we have been using dice, counting and coloured links to support learning yet mainly to provide a little more excitement and variety to our lessons!

The first challenge of the week was:

Using coloured counters, make a total of 1.0 in 7 different ways
Red = 0.2
Blue = 0.3
Yellow = 0.4
Green = 0.5
Children were to record their results CLEARLY!
This was a lot of fun … challenging … can be very easily differentiated and practical! I certainly recommend trying it out!
Y6 Maths Fun


Volume Challenge

For children to actually ‘understand’ mathematics, I believe it is imperative that we show them HOW things work and WHY it is what it is … not just the tricks that get the answer!

Helping the children calculating volume today we got out the unifix cubes, paper and scissors. The challenge was to first cut out one square from each corner of their squared paper to make a tray *(a challenge for some already!).  The children then counted / measured the dimensions and calculated the answer using the formula (v=lbh) .  The pupils then cut out a 2×2 square from each corner and calculated the volume and so on. The challenge – find out the dimensions that will have the greatest / least volume!

Practical and FUN … and the children now have first hand experience of calculating volume! Something to tag their understanding onto to recall when needed!

2014-01-31 11.56.421 2014-01-31 11.58.051 2014-01-31 12.10.561 2014-01-31 12.11.161

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Well we used a SUPERB video today as a plenary during numeracy in year 6. Very challenging but lots of FUN! See if you can answer the question: Oh! and no cheating … you must pause the video at the end of the song!

Maths Question Tinie Tempah from Paul Cowburn on Vimeo.

More of these videos can be found here



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REAL LIFE Maths Challenges

Welcome back!

Hopefully this is the start of a regular, MAGIC MATHS blog. At least, that’s the plan for this year! Promoting what we are doing @StPaulsSalford – the exciting teaching and learning that is going on … the 21st Century teaching and learning that we are delivering and experiencing everyday!

This week in Year 6 we had a go at ‘practically’ applying our numeracy knowledge and the learning that they have experienced. I divided the class into 4 equal groups and assigned each table a task that they had the undertake – How many children could fit into our playground? How much material would it take to cover the Year 6 building (yes! we do have a self-contained unit for Y6 … very lucky!) and if you were given a £200 budget, how much and which flowers and plants would you buy for the school!

During the challenge, it may have seemed at a distance that the children were just talking and walking around school, yet on closer inspection the thinking skills and vocabulary bouncing around the groups made me believe in the importance and benefits of the task. Most groups struggled to provide a definite answer by the end of the lesson, yet much learning took place. Children experienced calculating area for REAL – a practical activity that will hopefully provide a ‘hook’ for later lessons. Measuring for REAL – as you would in REAL LIFE! Making mistakes and thinking for themselves!

I believe that we instruct the children too much. We provide the equipment for them, give them very little thinking time and eventually tell them how to solve the question. We allow the children in Early Years and KS1 to explore and experiment – why does this learning style change the older they become? This was the first time that I have experimented with this ‘free-rein / DIY’ lesson – yet with structure, safety and clear expectations I’m confident that this will become the most enjoyable lesson of the week – with the most benefit!

IMG_1487 IMG_1488

How many children can fit on 1 flag? So how many on 66?


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iPads, Angry Birds and Algebra

AB Seasons       Algebra


Superb ALGEBRA lesson this week in Year 5 using inspiration from http://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk/ again.

To start the lesson I let the children ‘play’ Angry Birds in pairs, asking them to keep a running total of their score, ensuring all children had jottings on their whiteboards. We then had a quick game of finding the difference between partner scores. Lots of adding and subtracting with numbers up to 10,000.

We then began with our Algebra. I asked the children to find the total score of each level, from Angry Birds Seasons, when the birds were worth various points: Red (R)=1, Chuck (Y)=2, The Birds (TB)=3, Bomb(B)=5 and Matilda (M)=10. The only rule was not to just record a score.

When all children had completed Level 1 and 2 answers, I then took feedback on how the children had recorded their results, and discussed methods used … and why we now, progressing to the next stage of algebra, couldn’t write, as some had for 1 Matilda + 2 Bomb, 10M + 5B.

To complete the lesson, we then had the challenge of finding which birds were in my imaginary level when the points were worth 6 … an incentive of a sweet for anyone with the correct answer (sorry Healthy School Status) certainly encouraged them all to find more than one possibility.

Great lesson, all were challenged, even my Level 5’s, and all understood and succeeded, even my level 3c’s!

Italian Method Multiplication

Times Table Challenge

Starting this week for the next 6-weeks we are holding a ‘Times Table Challenge’ at St Paul’s, for all pupils from Year 1-6. You have 1 week to learn your multiplication facts off-by-heart, then when you are ready ask a member of staff to ‘challenge’ you (they’ll ask you 3 randomly selected questions, e.g. for Week 1; 2×7=?, What is double 6? and How many 10’s make 90?) Get them all correct to WIN!

Week 1: 12th Nov./Challenge 1 = x2 and x10 facts

Week 2: 19th Nov./Challenge 2 = x5 and x4 facts

Week 3: 26th Nov./Challenge 3 = x3 and x8 facts

Week 4: 3rd Dec./Challenge 4 = x6 and x9 facts

Week 5: 10th Dec./Challenge 5 = x7 and x11 facts

Week 6: 17th Dec./Challenge 6 = x12 facts

Good Luck. Mr Cowburn

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