Hands-on Maths Inspiration

Game Based Learning (Fluency)

Modelling Numbers  


3: A tiler is using squares that measure 10cm on each side. How many tiles are needed to cover an area that is 1mX0.5m?

1 & 2: Modelling addition and subtraction using MAB blocks

3: Students roll two dice to generate numbers for an addition number sentence. Students then sort the number sentence based on the most efficient mental strategy. Click here for a paper version.

Modelling an answer to a problem solving question, showing the answer in more than one way.

1 & 2: What could you buy for exactly $15. How many answers can you find?


Modelling, extending and creating patterns


1: If you find the mid point of a rectangle and draw a straight line, that goes from one side to another while crossing the mid point, will it always make 1/2? Will this work for other quadrilaterals?

2: students use pictures of cupcakes to show mixed number and improper fractions. (Explicit teaching involved cutting ‘real’ cupcakes)

Fractions of a group.

Modelling fractions of a group.

1: Put one cake on each table. Choose 1 student at a time, to sit at the table which has the cake they want to eat a fraction of. Students at the tables need to record the fraction of the cake they will get. Develops an understanding of the size of fractions. (The bigger the group of students, the smaller the fraction)

2: students needed were given lots of materials and needed to model given fractions.


1: A tiler is using squares that measure 10cm on each side. How many tiles are needed to cover an area that is 1mX0.5m?

2: modeling and recording volume

3: create own ruler and then complete reflection, compare rulers with peers and describe common features.

Making connections between a number line and a clock.

1 & 2: Experiment with using different measuring devices

3: Drawing a chalk outline, then use non-standard units to measure body parts. Teaching moments: need same units to compare, the need for standard units (eg. if we measure using dictionaries, are all dictionaries the same size?), no spaces between units, draw chalk lines next to non-standard units to help students make connection to standard units.

1 & 2: Practise measuring capacity and mass

3: Investigating student questions: What is the difference between an inflated and deflated ball’s mass? The experiment was conducted with balls made from 4 different materials.

1: Students measured their body parts, and halved measurements which were used to create a ‘mini person’.

2: Investigating connection between time traveled and distance of the Sphero.

Practise counting physical money and use of items from catalogues. Maths content can involve working out change, rounding, working out the total cost of a shopping basket, and responding to problem solving questions.


1: students were given a net (click here for template) for a pyramid. Students constructed the 3D shape from the net, then needed to work with peers to use their pyramids to construct another 3D shape.

2: We are going to make skeleton models of cubes. If we make 4 cubes. How many straws will we need?

3: Give students access to a collection of 3D shapes. Students select a shape, make the net, and construct the shape. Students can be challenged to find multiple nets, which make the same shape.

1: students use tracing paper (I use baking paper) to compare angles of 2D shapes. Students identify the equal angles.

2: classify shapes, initially the sort is based on students’ criteria. Next I might give a characteristic, eg. classify the shape based on the angles. This criteria is still open as students students can produce different sorts, eg. one group sorted shapes based on whether or not they had a right angle, and another group sorted the shapes based on the number of internal angles.

3: sort angles

1: Students identified equal angles and equal sides, and then matched the description of the 2D shape with the picture.

2: Students using tracing paper (I use baking paper) to help with reflection, rotation, translation.

1: practise using positive and negative coordinates.

2: Students are taught to draw a square with the sphero (Click here for instructions/tutorial). Students then need to alter the code to produce different quadrilaterals.

Statistics and Probability

Model creating graphs: column (using post-its and the IWB) and pie graph (using string). Students had whiteboards to answer questions about the pie graph.

1: Create spinners. Example task: Create as many spinners as you can, which have an ‘unlikely’ chance of landing on orange. Students can then use spinners in a chance experiment.

2: In pairs, sort statements according to their probability.

Students constructed spinners which have a 1/4 or 25% chance of landing on red.

Maths resources/information 

Collaborative Learning 

Growth Mindset 

Carol Dweck 

Jo Boaler website about having a Growth mindset in Maths  https://www.youcubed.org/resource/growth-mindset/

Click here for examples of activities to develop students’ growth mindset.

Praise what you value… positive attitude and statements that reflect a growth mindset, rather than achievement. Reference: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/Impact



Click here for information about:

  • asking good questions
  • effective pedagogical practice for maths
  • structure of maths lessons



Free Teacher Websites

Free Student Maths Games

Best Maths Book Ever (for Junior to Upper Primary)

  • Open Ended Maths Activities, Peter Sullivan, Pat Lilburn


Good resources (but expensive)


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