Posted in combinations, Easter, Making totals, Money

Coin combinations

Buying an egg

Screenshot 2019-04-08 16.30.42

Digit Dog has bought a chocolate egg for 50p. He paid for it using silver coins. Which coins do you think he used? Which coins did he definitely not use? Why?

How many different ways do you think he could pay? Convince me that you have found all the different ways. Explain your thinking.

What is the least number of coins he could use? What is the most?

What if…………..

……..Digit Dog bought something for 50p, 75p, £1……..any amount you like?

……..he could use any coins? How many ways to pay would there be then?

Make up some questions like this for your friends.



Posted in Easter, Numicon, Problem solving

Collect the Easter Eggs

Collecting eggs

Digit Dog is collecting eggs from the Easter Bunny’s store. Here is a map of the store. (download and print your store here

Digit Dog counters

Screenshot 2019-04-03 15.31.31

There are 8 rooms and the number tells you how many eggs are in each room. Digit Dog has to go into the rooms and collect the eggs BUT he can only go into each room ONCE.

How many eggs can Digit Dog collect?

How many different ways can he go though the store?

Can you record his routes? How might you do this?

Screenshot 2019-04-03 15.49.25

Can you do it a different way, Digit Dog, and collect more eggs?

What’s the most eggs you can collect?

What’s the smallest number of eggs?

Look for children who are planning the routes and can explain their thinking.

Simplify the task

  1. Put Numicon® shapes in each room so that Digit Dog can collect a shape when he has gone through the room. These can then be added together to find the total number of eggs.

Screenshot 2018-12-04 16.58.53

I went to rooms 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8. How many eggs did I collect altogether?

Screenshot 2018-12-04 17.01.28

I have put the shapes on the number line so that I can see the total without counting in ones.

Calculating Cat
Calculating Cat says that you can make 10s with the shapes and that makes it easy to find the total. 10, 20, 21


Screenshot 2018-12-04 16.59.30

2. Use the blank store and put just numbers 1, 2 and 3 in the rooms.

3. Put just Numicon® shapes in the rooms – no numerals.

4. Put mini-eggs in the rooms. Instead of counting in ones, put the eggs in the Numicon® ten-shapes to find the total.

Extend the challenge

Use the blank store and put higher numbers in each room.

Challenge children to find all possible routes and to explain how they know they have found them all.

Posted in Easter, Numicon, Problem solving

Cover the animals

Easter animals

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are using the Numicon® shapes to cover the picture of the Easter Chick .

You will need the Chick picture (download and print on yellow paper) and a set of Numicon® shapes. Ask learners to use the Numicon® shapes to cover the chick in any way they can.

Screenshot 2019-04-03 13.39.12

How many different ways can you do it? Describe what you’ve done.

Compare your chick with your friend’s. What’s the same and what’s different? How did you check that your way was different from your friend’s?

Play What’s missing?

  1. When the chick is covered with shapes, one child closes their eyes, another takes away one shape. Which one is missing? How do you know?
  2. Put some shapes in a feely bag, take them out one at a time and place on the chick. Can you find the shapes you want by touch alone?  This helps with visualising the shapes.


How did you cover the chick? How many shapes did you use? Talk about how you chose the shapes. Which shapes were most useful?

Can you cover the chick using different shapes?

How many different ways can you do it?

What is the fewest number of shapes you can use? The most?

Can you just use odd shapes? Even shapes?

What if you weren’t allowed to use the same shape more than once? How many ways can you do it? Is this more difficult? What are you thinking?

Can you use one shape repeatedly to cover the chick? Which shapes will work? Which won’t? Why?

Encourage learners to describe and explain what they are doing.

Look for those learners who have a strategy for choosing shapes and those who use trial and improvement.

Look for learners who swap shapes for other equivalent shapes each time they look for a new arrangement rather than starting from the beginning.

Encourage learners to put all their completed chicks together and ask “what is the same?” “what is different?”


Try the same activities with the Easter Bunny  (download here).



Posted in Uncategorized

Spring Chicks

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are trying one of the Numicon Ideas for Spring resources that they found on

Screenshot 2019-03-26 16.08.27.png

How can Calculating Cat share the chicks between the 3 nests? Try it.

How many chicks will be in each nest? Convince your friend that you are right.

Write a dividing calculation to go with your representation.

Try different numbers of nests – can you share the 12 chicks equally between 2 nests? What about 4 nests, 5 nests, 6 nests? What do you notice?

Try a different number of chicks. What happens?

Posted in Additive relationships, Calculating, Communication using symbols, Conceptual understanding, Easter, Fluency, Logical reasoning, Strategic competence

Calculating Chicks

How many chicks are hiding?

Screenshot 2018-03-22 23.20.51

Digit Dog is using a hollow plastic egg and some fluffy chicks to create some number problems. This type of word problem requires more thinking than the problems such as “There are 4 chicks in my egg and 4 chicks on the floor.  How many chicks are there altogether?”, where the end result is unknown.

The aim is to encourage learners to think and talk mathematically – to have a mathematical conversation and use their knowledge of additive relationships and the link between addition and subtraction.

Ask learners to:

  • Explain what the problem is about in their own words.
  • Explain what information they know and what they are trying to find out. How many chicks are not in the egg? What number of chicks cannot be in the egg?
  • FInd a way to work out how many chicks are in the egg.
  • Describe the strategy they have used. They might:
    • act it out – using children themselves (with chick masks)
    • act it out – using toy chicks
    • use counters to represent the chicks
    • draw pictures of the chicks
    • use an eight Numicon shape to lace the chicks on
    • use number bonds
  • Convince everyone that their answer is correct. Use sentence starters such as:
    • I know the answer is 4 because ….
    • First of all I…………then I………
    • I know that …….. so…………
  • Write a number sentence
  • Change the number of chicks in the egg.
  • Think about a What if………?

What if there were more than 8 chicks altogether?

What if the story wasn’t about chicks?

Can learners transfer their thinking to a new problem?

Make up some of your own problems like this one for your friend.

The five proficiences

Learners will use:

  • strategic competence to make sense of the problem, work out what is known and what needs to be found out and to decide on a way of solving it.
  • logical reasoning to explain their thinking, to make sense of the problem and to use what they know to work it out.
  • conceptual understanding of, and fluency with, number bonds for 8 in order to use them to solve the problem and to be efficient and accurate with the basic calculations.
  • communication using symbols and correct mathematical vocabulary to write number sentences and explain their thinking .

Learners will need to be competent in all five proficiencies in order to create their own problems.

Posted in Easter, Games

Easter Race to 10

A game for any number of players.

You will need:

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

Take turns to throw the dice. Count the number of eggs and put them on the 10 shape. The first person to get to 10 wins.

As you play describe how many eggs you have:

“I have ……… eggs. I need ……….more to make 10”.

During the game take time to look at each other’s shapes and talk about similarities and differences.


How many eggs does Digit Dog have?

How many eggs does Calculating Cat have?

Who has fewer eggs? How many fewer? Explain how you know.

Who has more eggs? How many more?

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



Posted in Easter

Easter estimating 2

An estimation activity inspired by

Open the powerpoint, show the first slide and ask:

How many eggs do you think are in the pot?

Take some estimations and then reveal the answer.

Show the second slide. The first image is the pot from Slide 1.

Click to reveal a second image and ask:

How many are there in this pot? How are we going to estimate? Are there more or fewer than the first pot? How many more/fewer? Discuss some estimations before revealing the answer.

Click to reveal a third image. What about this pot? How many eggs? Ask for estimations and ask learners to explain why they chose the number they did. Why did you choose that number? Explain your reasoning.

Click to reveal the fourth image and see if learners are refining their strategies for estimating. Are they just guessing or are they using what they know about previous pots and reasoning about the number of eggs?

Estimating powerpoint








Posted in Counting, Easter, Estimation

Easter estimating

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are estimating how many eggs are in the pot.

IMG_1595 (1)

“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.

IMG_1596 (1)


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.

IMG_1597 (1)


What’s the same and what is different?