Symmetry Outdoor Maths – Creativelearning

Get out with a camera and find as many examples of symmetry as possible.  Then come back and classify them into how many lines of symmetry.

The quest can have points based on the number of lines of symmetry found.  There are some really good sorting apps for phones see the whole thing on

Juliet Robertson blog

Outdoor Maths Kits Gets You Started

There are a lot of ways of doing Maths outside the classroom.  However the main problem is getting out of the classroom.  There are no prizes for having a class full of kids running round outside  – other than a group of kids highly motivated!

This outdoor Maths game kit is excellent for providing 30 minute slots for outside games.

Outdoor Maths Kit

It costs £89.99 from Handson and is worth considering for any school.

Robots and Maths at Primary

There are a number of different robots available for maths at the Primary level.  They teach sequential logic, counting and turning.  The resources can be extended further by imaginative use of mats to include time based problems.

The two systems I like are Bebot and Bigtrack.  The big track has a great expansion capacity and both retail at £29.99

Bee-Bot Class Pack

As we develop further in primary into Y5 & y6;  LEGOs WEDO can play a major part in the educational system.  This is a full graphical programming language connected to LEGO machines which move and chomp.  It enhance logical thinking and questions of percentage increase can be explored with output motors and cranes.  The extent of maths which can be derived form these systems is very dependent on the teachers imagination.  This is part of a major project under LEGO maths.

Linking Cubes Still Great

These have been with us for a great deal of time.  However a revisit of this tried and tested resource is overdue.

Linking Cubes Baseboards Pk5

The cube sets be used to explore the following problems really well:

Primary: number bonds, counting, area squares and rectangles, basic volume

Secondary: plan, side and elevation drawing, cube and square numbers, volume and surface areas of cuboids.

In Search of Real Data – Thermometers

Classroom Thermometer From about £4

Thermometer work can be a really interesting way of discovering the school grounds and rooms.  Taking measurements through out the school can lead to the development of heat maps.  Other questions which it can raise are:

Where is the most heat being used?

Where would be the warmest place outside for a small animal?

Can we measure heat loss by a thermometer?

Which rooms are above the average? Get the kids to issue energy warnings?

Measuring temperature in and out of the sun?

Does a box made of white or black paper raise the temperature more?

Whilst this does overlap with the energy part of the Science curriculum it does make for an  engaging explorations which allows the student use maths to discover things about their world.

In Search of Real Data – Forehead Thermometers

Forehead Thermometers

I have used these little strips for measuring temperature after exercise of after being outside.  You can get the students to hold their breath and for short periods to see if they an raise the temperature.  Once again results can be processed in the normal way.

Another alternative is to create a heat map of the students in the room.  This leads onto a discussion of heat maps in general.

In Search of Real Data – Stop Watches

Measuring and thinking mathematically about a problem is crucial part of Maths education. However often we do not collect enough real interesting data  to capture the students imagination.  The following basic tools can be used to gain data which will motivate students:

1. Stop Watches

Class Set of 30 Stopwatches

These can be used for a whole load of time based activities some of the ones which I find are useful are:

a) How quickly can you sort objects based on criteria

b) What is the length of time you can hold your breath

c) How long can you hold up a textbook with your arm outstretched

d) How quickly can a group form a hexagon using rods

e) Counting breaths in a minute before and after exercise.  Then teach meditation breath control and see if the students can reach 3 breaths a minute.  Have students work in pairs for this exercise.

f) Races involving balancing something ( like a book on your head) can give good data and be a fairly even activity for the class.

I think I could go on forever on this one, however what I have learnt is that data based on themseleves is much more gripping.  Obviously in all the above cases the data is collected and processed to create graphs, averages, range etc….  The only thing I find does not work is straight racing as this just favours the few who are very fast.