Posted in Easter

Counting the eggs

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“I wonder how many eggs are in the pot?”

Can you estimate?

What do you think?

Will there be more than 10? How many more? A lot more? A few more?

Will there be more than a 100?

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat used the egg boxes to help find out how many eggs there are. They wanted to organise the eggs so that they could see how many there are without counting in ones.

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What do you notice?

How do the egg boxes help to see how many eggs there are?

How can you count them?

What questions can you ask?

Next they used the Numicon shapes to help them count.

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What’s the same and what is different?

Posted in Counting, Number sense, Subitising


Subitising is being able to look at a small set of objects (up to 5) and say how many there are without counting in ones. Once children can count objects reliably we want them to move onto subitising – an important step in the development of number sense.

Perceptual subitising – instantly recognising a small group of objects.

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How many Digit Dogs can you see?

Conceptual subitising – seeing smaller groups within a larger group to say how many there are without counting in ones.


I know there are 7 because I see 5 and 2 more.

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I know there are 7 because I can see 4 and 3 more.

Show these slides for a couple of seconds to practise subitising. Click once to reveal the image, click again for it to disappear.

Posted in Easter

Easter counting competition

Give each child an empty plastic Easter egg and ask them to fill it with as many objects as they can.

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Fill the egg Cy

Count the objects to see who has the most. Organise the objects so that children can see how many there are without counting in ones. Put the objects onto the Numicon ten-shape, organise the objects so that they look like the Numicon shapes (see below) or put them on a ten frame.


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Who won the competition? Who had more objects? Who had fewer objects?

What is the largest number of objects that you could fit in the egg?

Posted in Easter

What do you notice?

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Encourage children to be good question posers. Posing questions develops mathematical thinking and reasoning skills.

Fill a container with mini-eggs and ask “What do you notice?”

Which of the things that you notice are mathematical?

Follow this by asking “What do you wonder?”

How many ways can you finish the sentence “I wonder……………..”

How many questions can you ask about the pot of eggs? Sort your questions – those that are mathematical and those that are not.

Can you ask good mathematical questions that can be explored, investigated and answered by your friends?

Put the questions on your working wall, use them in your maths challenge area, and as investigations in enhanced provision.

Posted in Easter

Easter Race to 10

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat have decided to play Race to 10 with their mini Easter eggs.


Who has fewer eggs? How many fewer?

How many more eggs does Digit Dog need to win? Can you answer in a full sentence?

Digit Dog has ……..eggs already and needs ……. more to make 10.

What about Calculating Cat?

Posted in Games

Race to 10

A game for any number of players.

You will need:

  • A Numicon 10 shape each
  • A 1 – 3 dice
  • Numicon pegs for each player


Take turns to throw the dice. Count the number of pegs and put them on the 10 shape. First to get to 10 wins.

How many pegs does Digit Dog have?

How many pegs does Calculating Cat have?

Who has fewer pegs? How many fewer?

Who has more pegs? How many more?

How many more pegs does Digit Dog need to make 10? What about Calculating Cat?



Posted in 2-sided beans, Making totals, Visualising

The two-sided beans – under the cup

Under the Cup

beans under cup

Each player has a cup and 5 beans. Take turns to hide the beans.

Everyone closes their eyes and Player 1 puts some beans on top of their cup and some underneath. Everyone opens their eyes and Player 1 says “I have ….beans on top of my cup. How many are hidden?” The other players work out how many and say how they know. Convince me that you’re right.

Encourage learners to visualise the beans under the cup. How many more do you need to make 5?

Using the 5-frames to help children to visualise.

  1. Take the beans from the top of the cup and put them on the frame and say how many more are needed to make 5.

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2. Have the frame in front of learners but visualise the beans on it rather than actually move them.

3. Visualise the frame and the beans.

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Use Numicon shapes in the same way as the frames to help visualise the problem.





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Posted in 2-sided beans, Games

The two-sided beans – fill the frame

Fill the frame game

Play this game with children so that they practise:

  • counting
  • subitising small numbers
  • using mathematical language – how many more?
  • seeing 5 and 10 as benchmark numbers

Fill the frame to 5

You need two-sided beans and a 5-frame for each player.

Each player takes a turn to:

  • Put 3 beans in their cup.
  • Shake and spill the beans.
  • Put the red beans on the 5-frame and say “I have ….. red beans. I need …..more to make 5”.

Keep playing until someone has 5 red beans.

Note: at the beginning of each turn a player checks they have 3 beans in their cup.

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Fill the frame to 10

The same rules as fill the frame to 5 but each player has a 10-frame and puts 5 beans in the cup on each turn.

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How many red beans has Digit Dog now got?

How can he work it out? Encourage children to fill the top row first – I can split the 5 beans into 2 and 3, use the 2 to make 5 on the top row and have 3 more on the bottom.

How many more will he need to make 10? How do you know?




Posted in 2-sided beans, Making totals

The two-sided beans

Making a set of two-sided beans is quick and easy.¬† Take a bag of dried butter beans (available in any supermarket), lay on newspaper and spray on one side with non-toxic spray paint in your chosen colour. Leave to dry and you’re ready to go.

Shake and Spill 

Using the beans to investigate ways to partition the number 5

5 beans

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Take 5 beans and put in a cup. Shake the cup and spill the beans.

Say “I have….red beans and ……white beans. I have 5 beans altogether”.

Keep rolling and counting the number of red beans and the number of white beans.

How many different ways do the beans spill?

Ask children to think about how they can record what they have done. “How are you going to remember all the different ways?”

  • Record by using the beans themselves – put them on a large piece of paper, draw a circle around each combination.
  • Draw pictures of the beans.
  • Use digit cards and place them alongside the beans.
  • Match to Numicon shapes.
  • Match a number sentence.
  • Write a number sentence.
  • Use a part-whole diagram.

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    Recording the two-sided beans

Encourage children to say how many of each colour there are without counting in ones – to subitise.