Posted in Making totals, What do you notice?, What's the same / different?

What do you notice?

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What’s the same and what is different about the pairs of bugs?

What has Calculating Cat noticed about the spots?

What patterns can you see?

Look at each pair: which bug has more spots? which bug has fewer spots? How many spots do they have altogether?

What if you were making 6 spots with just one bug? What patterns would you see then?

What if you made other numbers of spots?

Posted in WODB

Which one doesn’t belong?

Look carefully at the pairs of bugs and decide which pair doesn’t belong. Explain your thinking. Explain your reasoning.

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Take each pair in turn and give a reason for why it doesn’t belong.

How many different reasons can you find?

Make up your own WODB.


Posted in Books, Calculating, Remainder of One

How many bugs are under the leaf?

Digit Dog was watching the 10th Bug Squadron marching past but he was a little late and some of the bugs had already marched under the leaf. He is wondering how many are under the leaf.

under the leaf

How many bugs are in the 10th Squadron altogether?

How many groups of 2 can they make?

How many bugs can you see? How many groups of 2 can you see?

How many bugs are under the leaf? How many groups of 2 are under the leaf?

How can you work it out?

You might want to use Numicon to help you think about the problem.


Or a ten frame might help.


Make up your own problems like this.

Posted in Books, Remainder of One

Marching in line

More bug fun inspired by A Remainder of One

The 12th Bug Squadron is ready to parade. Digit Dog has put them in twos.

Explore the array using mathematical language:

  • Count in twos to find out how many there are – 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12.
  • Write an addition sentence 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 12
  • Write a multiplication sentence 6 x 2 = 12
  • Describe the ladybirds with words “6 groups of 2”.
  • Ask “how many groups of 2 are there?” “How many groups of 2 equal 12?”

counting in 2s

Calculating Cat’s ladybirds look different. She wants to quickly count how many ladybirds she has. How could she do it?

What number sentences could she say and write?

counting ladybirds


What is the same and what is different about the two groups of ladybirds?

Could they be arranged in any other way?

What if you put them in lines of 5? What do you notice?

Posted in Books, Remainder of One

More maths with bugs

Another activity inspired by A Remainder of One

The members of the 16th Bug Squadron have organised themselves for the Queen’s parade.

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Is Calculating Cat correct? Or has she made a mistake?

What do you notice about the bugs?

What can you say about:

  • the number of rows?
  • the number of colums?
  • the number of bugs?
  • patterns in the numbers on their backs?
  • diagonal patterns?
  • odd ones out?
  • totals of spots?
  • their eyes?


Could the 16th Squadron organise themselves in a different way?

Remember each row has to have the same number of bugs in it because “the queen likes things tidy”.

The bottle top bugs are easy to make with a Sharpie pen and goggly eyes (I got mine from The Works)

Posted in Remainder of One

How many ladybirds are going to the bug parade?

Can you estimate how many ladybirds are in the jar?

What is a sensible guess? 5? 50? 100? Why? Why not?how many?

Calculating Cat is using her reasoning skills to estimate how many ladybirds there are. What do you think? Do you agree with her?

counted ladybirds

How many ladybirds has Digit Dog taken out of the jar?

How did you count them? What is the quickest way to count them? Explain your thinking.

What is your estimate now? Do you think there are more or fewer ladybirds in the jar than out of it?

Make up your own challenge like this.

Posted in Books, Counting, Remainder of One

A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes


Great book for investigating division and remainders and arrays and multiplication and number patterns and …………..

The 25th bug squadron (it has 25 bugs) needs to organise itself into lines to march in the bug parade.

“The 25th squadron marched past the bug crowd,

bound and determined to make their queen proud.

The troop had divided by two for the show.

Each bug had a partner – except soldier Joe”.

Poor Joe is left out and gets into trouble because the queen “likes things tidy”.

Find out what happens when the squadron divides into threes and fours. Guess who is left out each time. However, there is a happy ending when the bugs decide to march in fives:

“Five lines of soldiers with five in each row……

perfect at last – and that’s counting Joe.”

Act out the story with children themselves – What would the name of your class squadron be? What would happen if your class squadron was trying to march in tidy rows to please the queen? How many would be in each row? When would there be remainders like Joe?

What about other classes? Would they march in the same way as you?

Investigate different squadrons and tell their stories.

Use different resources to act out the story and investigate other numbers.

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