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  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.

Make it easier

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

2. Put mini-eggs in the rooms and collect them.

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 Calculating, Making totals

Making more tens

Another way to investigate making 10 with 2 numbers using the bottletop bugs. Download the board here.

Making ten bugs

Can you record the pairs that you have found?

You could also use the number pebbles to do the activity.

making ten pebbles

Try turning the pebbles face down. Turn them over one at a time and decide where to place them on the board.

Posted in Calculating, Fluency, Making totals, Strategic competence

Making tens

bottletop bugs add to 10

What do you think? How many pairs of numbers can you find to make 10? How do you know you have found all the pairs?

What if………….

…….you looked for 3 numbers which, added together, make 10?

…….you looked for numbers with a difference of 1? What do you notice?

…….you made up some of your own questions?

You can do this activity by making some bottletop bugs. Collect milk bottle tops, draw some eyes and then number them 0 – 10

Screenshot 2020-03-26 19.07.06

or draw spots from 0 – 10

Screenshot 2020-03-26 19.07.14

or you can use digit cards (download here)

or write numbers on bits of paper

or you can make some number pebbles like these.

number pebbles 2

Posted in Games, Logical reasoning

Two or More

The Two or More Game

You need:

A Two or More board (download here)

Cards numbered 1 – 9 (download here) or be like Digit Dog and use stones from the garden with numbers written on them.


Put the numbers on the squares so that the difference between each pair of numbers is 2 or more.

two or more

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are playing Two or More.

Is Calculating Cat right? How do you know?

Which number couldn’t she put next? Can you explain your reasoning?

Is there more than one way of doing it? How do you know?

How could you record what you have done?

How did you decide where to put the numbers? What were you thinking about?

What if……..

…….the difference was 3 or more?

…….you made up a game of your own using the board and numbers?

Posted in Calculating, Counting, Games

Face Up

You need:

4 milk bottle tops with a face drawn on them.

bottle tops

About 50 small objects to keep score – you could use cocktail sticks, counters, buttons, dried beans, small pebbles, Lego pieces.

How to play:

  1. Decide how many rounds you want to play.
  2. Toss the bottle tops in the air and count how many fall with faces up and how many with faces down.

To score:

All 4 face up = 5 points

3 up and 1 down = 2 points

2 up and 2 down = 1 point

1 up and 3 down = 2 points

All 4 down = 5 points

Keep your score with the small objects. The player with most objects at the end of the agreed number of rounds wins.



You can keep score with pencil and paper instead of objects.

If you want an Easter theme, you can use mini eggs to keep score.

Use more bottle tops and make up your own scoring system.

Invent your own game.


Posted in Calculating, Games, Logical reasoning, Making totals

Which Square?

How to play Which Square?

A game for 2 players.

You need:

A game board (download here), two dice and 12 counters for each player.


  • Each player puts their counters on the board. They can put them on any number and more than one counter on a number if they wish.
  • Players take turns to throw 2 dice and to add the two numbers. If they have a counter on the total they have thrown, they can take it off. If they have more than one counter on the total, they just remove one.
  • The winner is the first to remove all 12 counters.

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are playing the game. They both think that they will win. What do you think?

Which square

Look at where they have placed their counters. Who do you think will win? Why do you think that?

When you are playing the game do you notice that you get some totals more than others?

Which numbers are the best to put your counters on? Are there any numbers you don’t want to put your counters on? Can you explain why you think that?

Play the game a few times to see if your ideas work.

Posted in Calculating, Games

Turn the cards

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are playing a game of Turn the Cards

Turn the cards

You will need:

A set of digit cards and two dice

You can download some digit cards here  (if you print them double-sided they will have Digit Dog on the back) or you can just write numbers on pieces of paper. If you don’t have dice, there are free rolling dice apps that you can download.


  1. Put the cards 1 – 6 in order
  2. Player 1 throws the two dice and turns over the cards that match the dice – Digit Dog threw 2 and 3 so he will turn over the 2 card and the 3 card. Keep throwing the dice until you can’t turn over any more cards. The cards that are left showing are added together and that is Player 1’s score.
  3. It is now the next player’s turn. Put the cards in order again and throw the dice in the same way as Player 1.
  4. The winner is the one with the lower score.

Either play one round to find a winner or play 5 or 10 rounds, adding the scores of each round to give a final score.

Want more of a challenge?

Use digit cards from 1 – 12 and put them in order.

When you throw the dice you can:

  1. turn over the cards that match the numbers on the dice.
  2. add the two numbers and turn over the total.
  3. subtract the two numbers and turn over the answer.

As with the first game, your turn ends when you can’t turn over a card. Find your score by adding together all the cards still facing up.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sum or Difference

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are are playing a game called sum or difference.

sum or difference


  • Take turns to throw 2 dice.
  • Find the sum of the two numbers OR the difference, then cover the number on your grid.
  • The first one to cover all their numbers is the winner.

Download the game here

Encourage children to use the mathematical language:

The sum of …….and ………is …………..

The difference between …….. and …….. is………..


Which numbers are more difficult to cover? Why do you think that is?

Do you make some numbers more often than others?

What if………..

…….you were making your own board? Which numbers do you think would be good to choose?

……you were only finding the sum of the dice? Which numbers would you put on the board so that you were the winner?

………you were only finding the difference? Would you choose the same numbers?

Posted in Counting, Games, Number sense, Subitising

Counting with Digit Dog

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat have been practising their counting. Play their game by downloading it here.

You need one counter and a dice (a dice with numbers 1, 2 and 3 is ideal but you can play with an ordinary 1 – 6 dice)

The game is for 2 players – one will be Digit Dog and the other will be Calculating Cat.

Put the counter on Start. Both players move the same counter BUT Digit Dog moves towards the bone and Calculating Cat moves towards the fish. Take turns to throw the dice and see who gets their food first. There will be a lot of moving back and fro.

When children throw the dice ask them to say how many spots there are without counting in ones – this is called subitising.


If you enjoyed the game why not try the Incey Wincey Spider game from


Download drainpipes here.

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, Logical reasoning, Numicon, Problem solving, Strategic competence

Cover the Chick

Easter animals

For those of you who enjoyed the Chinese New Year activity Cover the animals, here’s an Easter version.

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 again but 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 Easter, Estimation, Logical reasoning

Easter Estimation

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat have been inspired by Steve Wyborney to create this estimation activity. Screenshot 2020-03-16 12.18.57

Screenshot 2020-03-16 12.20.08

Download the powerpoint here

Show the first slide and ask:

How many eggs are in the pot?

Take estimations and then reveal the answer.

Show picture 2 and ask the same question. Compare the pots – are there more eggs or fewer eggs? Take some estimates and then reveal the answer.

Show picture 3 but this time ask learners to write down their estimation and then to tell their partner why they chose that number. This generates mathematical talk and explanations.

I chose _____ because___________

I looked at pot __ and thought__________

I think __________ because_____________

Repeat for picture 4.