Posted in What's the same / different?

Bottle Top Bugs – What’s the same? What’s different?

Noticing similarities and differences is key to spotting patterns and reasoning mathematically.

Choose 2 bottle top bugs and ask:  “What is the same?” “What is different?”

Explaining what you notice improves your mathematical language and thinking.


Digit Dog and Calculating Cat have each made a set of 3 bugs.

Look at the two sets of bugs and find similarities and differences. Accept all answers. Encourage learners to keep looking for more. Make a list that can be added to during the day / week.

What can you say about the two sets of bugs? What do you notice? Say what you see.

Can you think of anything that is the same about the two sets?

I can see that each set has 3 bugs. Each set has the same number of bugs.

Encourage and model the use of full sentences. You might want to ask learners to start their sentences with I notice that………..

Anything else?

I notice that in each set, the bugs have different coloured eyes.

I notice that the number of spots on all the bugs in both sets is an even number.

I notice that if you add up the number of spots, in each set the total is more than 10 .

I notice that both sets have two bugs with a double.

Can you think of more things that are the same about the two sets?

What about the differences? What is different about the two sets?

I notice that one set has all green bugs and the other has different colours.

Any other differences?

I notice that the total number of spots in each set is different.

I notice that all the bugs in Calculating Cat’s set have more than 7 spots, Digit Dog’s bugs have less than 7.

The total number of spots is different. Digit Dog’s total is half Calculating Cat’s total.

Make up some sets with a partner and look for similarities and differences.

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