Ideas for Your Classroom Preview feature

Maths Week Scotland Ideas for Your Classroom

With Maths Week Scotland fast approaching, we wanted to share some more suggestions on how to celebrate with your class or school. We have our programme of virtual and in-person events, our host of online and downloadable activities, and a variety of challenges and competitions for schools to enter, but there are also plenty of other ways you can incorporate Maths Week Scotland into your classroom.

Every year, we are delighted to hear about all the creative and amazing ideas teachers have come up with, so for anyone still looking for a bit of inspiration, we have rounded up some of the activities that were shared with us on Twitter last year.

Baking

By far the most popular activity shared with us on Twitter last year was baking! Some schools baked together in the classroom, whilst others had children bring in bakes they had made at home. There were a multitude of maths and numeracy skills involved, including:

  • Budgeting for ingredients
  • Following a recipe
  • Weighing and measuring out ingredients
  • Doubling and tripling of ingredients to scale up a recipe
  • Converting grams to kilograms
  • Balancing the scales for each ingredient
  • Sharing mixtures equally among baking tins
  • Rolling out dough into a circle shape
  • Counting out cupcake cases
  • Timing the baking
  • Cutting bakes in to fractions to share out
  • And even learning about unusual instruments used to measure food, e.g. a strawberry firmness measuring tool!
MWS school examples bake off

Art

Another really popular activity was maths inspired art, with numbers, patterns, and symmetry all featuring heavily.

  • Become “Mathsasso” for a day! One very popular activity across different age groups was learning about Picasso and the faces in his abstract art, then creating Picasso style portraits using numbers for features.
  • Many schools had a pattern and symmetry day, with painting butterflies or creating drawings of other insects - whilst looking closely at shapes and lines - being a popular focus. Another choice was drawing buildings and landmarks that showed symmetry.
  • Some schools used chalk, or natural materials collected outdoors, to draw or create symmetrical patterns in the playground.
  • One P6 class created artworks based on the Curves of Pursuit.
  • And one high school combined 256 individually designed pyramids to form one large Sierpinski Pyramid.
MWS school examples insect symmetry
MWS school examples picasso pics

Role Play

Maths and numeracy through role place was popular particularly in primary schools and among younger classes, e.g. playing at running a café or restaurant or ‘popping to the shops’. Skills involved included setting prices, totalling up orders, using fractions to share out servings of ‘food’, using the correct coins to pay for items, giving correct change, and counting ‘stock’.

Design Challenges

Various design challenges gave pupils opportunities to use different maths skills.

  • In one primary school, the children designed a crazy golf course by focusing on 3D objects and angles. Of course, the fun part was playing with it!
  • In another school, children were challenged to see who could make the longest paper chain, using only two pieces of paper and 30cm of tape.
  • One P6 were given a budget and criteria to plan a school trip and then asked to present their ideas, including one bid for a safari park.
  • One P7 designed their own skateparks. This involved budgeting, calculating areas and perimeters, and measuring angles, as well as teamwork and cooperation.
  • Another class created their own Eco playground designs, by researching items and sticking to a budget of £100. They had some very creative and cost-effective ideas.
MWS school examples skatepark

Music

This year’s Maths Week Scotland theme is ‘Beauty of Maths', which is perfect for focusing on maths in music. We had a few music ideas shared with us last year too.

Research & Discussion Topics

There were lots of ideas shared for incorporating maths into different research and discussion topics across the curriculum, with a particular focus on maths in our everyday lives. Also check out our #ShowYourWorking campaign, which feeds perfectly into this.

  • OneS1 had some superb discussions about why maths matters. Lots of chat about where we use maths in our everyday lives, what careers involve maths and examples of when maths goes wrong!
  • In a different school, pupils used newspapers to investigate examples of maths used in real life contexts. They noticed lots of money examples related to offers and government budgets. There was also a lot of Covid data and statistics displayed in different ways.
  • Another idea to relate maths to everyday life, was creating lists of jobs that use maths. Pupils then chose their favourite jobs and created a collage to show the ways that maths is used.
  • Several classes researched famous mathematicians throughout history. One class delved deep to find lesser-known mathematicians who have made significant contributions to mathematics, while another focused specifically on Women in Maths, looking at their skills and qualities and the challenges and barriers they faced.
  • A P2 learned that if we don’t turn off the tap when brushing our teeth, we waste 18 glasses of water. They used water, cups and tally marks to see what this looks like.
  • While a P7 put their maths and literacy skills together and completed a Venn diagram about the different Little Red Riding Hood stories they had read.
  • And an S1 class combined maths, history and geography, by learning about ancient Roman measuring instruments and using 4 figure grid references.
MWS school examples researching mathematicians

Fun & Games

Some teachers really got creative putting the fun in maths.

  • One P1 had a ‘World of Work’ day, where children had fun dressing up to represent different jobs (another excellent opportunity to link to our #ShowYourWorking campaign).
  • ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ and ‘Which One Doesn’t Belong’ are both games that are perfect for developing dialogic skills in a range of curricular areas, and one school adapted these for maths.
  • Escape Rooms were very popular, with pupils having to work their way through clues, crack codes, and unlock passcodes.
  • Similar activities shared included mathematical treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, and even a murder mystery! All involved finding clues and solving calculations.
  • In one school, the parents and families went above and beyond to surprise and inspire the children, by creating an awesome video on the importance of maths in their lives.

Getting Active

Exercise and sports offer a great way to incorporate some maths. Examples shared included:

MWS school examples shuttle runs

Out & About

Last but not least, many schools took the opportunity during Maths Week Scotland to take their learning outside.

  • Several schools went for a walk outdoors to look for shapes in their neighbourhood or their local woods (check out our previous post on shape hunts for further inspiration).
  • One P1 went exploring around their local area to see how people use numbers to help them in their everyday lives.
  • Another P1 went on a number hunt around their local area, and spotted numbers on cars, doors, bins and even lamp posts.
  • A P2 collected natural materials from their school’s forest to create different patterns.
  • And one Early Years group used water play to explore volume, forces and quantity.
MWS school examples shape hunt
MWS school examples natural patterns

If you have other ideas you would like to share, please feel free to share them via our Facebook page or by tagging us on Twitter, and use the hashtag #MathsWeekScot.

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