Tag Archives: Functional skills

182. How much flooring?

I’m sure you’ve done or heard of people using their classroom as a basis for problem solving. How much would it cost to paint/wallpaper/carpet the room?

What about the literal cost of flooring a room?


Image credit: Pinterest

Many people have calculated that it is cheaper to use 1 cent coins rather than buy tiles. There are many examples collected together here: Keytoflow

I think this idea could be adapted to look at different sizes of coin, areas and tessellation. Even simple circular coins can tessellate in different ways – how much does this affect the cost? This is also an open task which could lead to some great strategies and discussions.

@LearningMaths suggests students could investigate the percentage area covered by different types of coin. A great extension idea!

68. Another GCSE revision idea

You will be surprised to hear that this activity doesn’t involve cutting up a GCSE paper! See Foundation GCSE student review and How to make GCSE past papers fun.

Digital version of a GCSE (or A-Level or Functional Skills) paper
Individual whiteboards & pens
Digital projector

Set up
Split the class into groups of 4-6. They will need a whiteboard each. Allocate a team number/letter or name. Project the first question on the screen.

Use the GCSE paper to set (part of) a question for the class.
They all answer on their whiteboards and hold up the answer when you say.

The beauty of this method is you can adapt the questions to the understanding of the class and focus on specific skills, as opposed to issuing a paper version and going through every question.

It’s quite common for a few bright/strong characters to take over team games, unless you can find a way to avoid this. The scoring is quite easy.

2 points if every member of the group gets the answer right.

1 point for each team, if more than one team is 100% correct.

You may think that this will encourage copying, but there is a third score:

-1 point if you can’t explain your answer

This means teams must work together to ensure everyone understands the solution. After all, these are exam questions which may take several minutes to complete. There is little value in using this as a revision tool if pupils don’t progress – which is where the peer explanation comes in.

My class really enjoyed doing this on Friday as preparation for their end of year eams. It allowed me to pick out the most appropriate revision questions, without running up the photocopying bill!

67. Banquet Challenge

Anyone else end up getting out the pencil and paper when you try to figure out the instructions on a supermarket ready meal banquet?


Some companies take you through the cooking process step by step. Others tell you how to cook each individual part, but not how the timings overlap. It occurred to me that this creates a nice Functional Skills/Time problem. You could even develop this into a critical path analysis problem.

Example: Mexican Banquet


Chicken & vegetable mix: 2mins 30secs
Tortillas: 20secs
Chilli: 5 minutes

Potato wedges: 15mins
Quesadilla: 10mins

If you want to eat at 7pm, what time should you start cooking?

What time does each item go on?

Assume that only one item can be put in the microwave at once, but the oven can fit more.