Tag Archives: multiply

235. Which witch is which?

Whether you are on half term holiday this week or next, I’m sure you’ll have time for this little number skills starter.

worst witch

Image Credit: Jill Murphy, ‘The Worst Witch’ – a children’s classic, which I highly recommend.

Can you help Wanda, the Grand High Witch, to find the local reporter hiding at her Halloween Girls Night Out? Solve the number problems and unveil the imposter.

Which witch is which? (pdf)

This starter or homework activity includes order of operations, factors, prime numbers, addition and multiplying (written method).

Happy Halloween!

(Updated: 1st Nov 2017)

159. Firework Skills Fun

On 5th November, I stumbled across the Skills Workshop website when I was looking for a quick Guy Fawkes Night resource. I found a nice Functional Skills task on planning a Bonfire Night party.


My Year 10 Foundation GCSE pupils really focussed on the task and actually asked for more lessons like this.

I used an activity based on units of alcohol, from this site, as an extension task.


We had some interesting conversations about how easy it is to exceed the daily allowances for alcohol consumption. PSCHE in a Maths lesson!

Have a browse of the website and see what you can find!

142. Here’s the answer

I’ve become increasingly interested in an inquiry based approach to learning maths after completing the ‘How to Learn Maths’ course.

Today I tried out a more problem-based approach with a Year 9 class. Last lesson we had recapped prior learning of equivalent fractions, simplifying and multiplying fractions. We had looked at using reciprocals in division. The starter today could easily have been 5 minutes with mini-whiteboards, but instead I gave them to following problem:


There is no ‘one correct answer’. The only limit was their mathematical imagination. After about twenty minutes we discussed each other’s answers on the board. If an answer was wrong, it was considered and corrected – rather than being dismissed or ignored. Walking around the room I was amazed – the level of engagement had increased and pupils were explaining their ideas. I could get a feel for who understood and who just followed procedures (and came unstuck when asked to do something different).

Of course, some pupils said ‘I can’t do it!’. They were met with the sympathetic response of ‘Can’t do it, doesn’t work anymore. Challenge is good for you’. Surprisingly, they either got on with it, started working with a friend or asked for pointers on how to start the problem.

I was really impressed with the students’ reaction to the task and by what I learnt about their understanding. Why not try it yourself on your next topic?