Posted in Mouse Count

Mouse Count 5

The mice are hiding

Under the leaves

This type of word problem requires more thinking than the problems where the end result is unknown e.g. “There are 4 mice outside and 6 mice inside the jar. How many mice are there altogether?” or “There were 10 mice in the jar, 4 mice escaped, how many are left in the jar?”

Ask learners to:

  • Explain how to find out how many mice are under the leaves.
  • Describe the strategy they have used:
    • act it out – with children or toy mice
    • use counters to represent mice
    • draw pictures
    • use a ten frame
    • use Numicon
    • use number bonds
  • Convince everyone that their answer is correct.

What number sentence can you write about the problem?

Make up some of your own problems like this one.

What if……….

………more than 10 mice escaped?

………fewer than 10 escaped?

…….the story wasn’t about mice?


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Mouse Count 4

More ideas for reasoning and problem-solving using the book Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh

The aim of the activity is to encourage learners to think and talk mathematically.  Ask learners to discuss and find ways to solve the problem.  Ask learners to explain their thinking and show, in any way they want, how the problem has been solved.

The problem of The Missing Mice

The snake put ten mice in his jar.

“Ten mice are enough. Now I am going to eat you up, little, warm and tasty, ” said the snake.

“Wait”, said one of the mice. “The jar isn’t full yet. And look at the big mouse over there.”

The snake was very greedy. He hurried off to get the big mouse.

When he got back…….what did he see?

Screenshot 2018-04-19 16.02.14

Can you work out how many mice escaped while the snake was away?

How does the snake know that some mice have escaped?

What do you need to do first to solve the problem?

How many mice are still in the jar? How many have got away?

Explain how you can find out how many escaped.  You might want to use a ten frame or Numicon shape to help you. You might want to draw a picture.

Can you write a number sentence for this problem?

Convince me that you have worked out the problem.

Encourage learners to predict and estimate by asking questions such as:

I wonder if more than 1 escaped……..what do you think?

I wonder if more than 5 escaped………

What if……………

………there was a different number of mice in the jar when the snake got back?

……..the snake started with a different number?

Encourage learners to make up some problems of  their own using different numbers and different contexts.

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Mouse Count 3

Screenshot 2018-04-15 18.32.58

Snake is very hungry.

3 mice are not enough.

He wants to eat 6 mice altogether.

Help him work out how many more he needs to catch. Explain how you do it.

Change the numbers to make some new problems.

What if………….

He started with 2 mice in the jar? How many more mice would he need to catch so that he had 6 for his dinner?

He wanted to eat 8 mice for his dinner? How many more would he have to catch?

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Mouse Count 2


“One, two, three.” But 3 mice were not enough.

Ask questions to get children reasoning about numbers.

What if the snake found 1 more mouse? How many would he have then? How do you know that? Can you convince me?

What if he found 2 more mice?

Screenshot 2018-04-15 17.47.19

What does Snake have to do to make his wish come true?


Use Numicon®, a five-frame or ten-frame to help children work out how to make snake’s wish come true and explain their thinking.

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Mouse Count

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A lovely story about a hungry snake who finds 10 little mice and counts them into a jar for his dinner. But the clever mice rock the jar and “uncount” themselves.

Practise counting forwards and back by acting out the story.


Acting out the story with a snake puppet and mice made from pebbles. “I will fill this jar with dinner,” said the snake. “First I will count the mice and then I will eat them up”.


Alternatively use plastic mice. Count them in and count them out again.

Coming next: Reasoning with Mouse Count