Posted in Christmas, Numicon, Problem solving

Christmas Baubles


If you enjoyed Cover Santa’s Sleigh and Cover the Christmas Tree, here’s another version of the activities.

You need:

  • copies of the baubles (download and print – make sure you set the print scale at 100% so that the shapes are the corect size)
  • a set of Numicon® shapes.

Match the shapes to the spaces on the bauble.Cover the bauble

  1. Give learners a limited number of shapes to choose from to match the spaces on the bauble.  Can they find the shapes they need?
  2. Have a complete set of shapes for children to choose from.
  3. When the bauble is covered, one partner closes their eyes, the other takes away one shape. Which one is missing? Can you find it in the pile of shapes?
  4. For an extra challenge, put the shapes in a feely bag and find the ones you need by touch alone.
  5. Ask: Why does Calculating Cat think there might be more than one way of covering the shapes?

As learners are working, ask them to explain their thinking.

Why did you choose that shape?

How many shapes do you need?

Which shape do you think will fit here…..? Is it bigger than the orange shape?

Is the shape that goes here big or small? Bigger / smaller than a pink one?

Can you take away one shape and put two in its place?


Posted in Christmas, Numicon, Problem solving

Cover the Christmas Tree

Can you use the Numicon shapes to cover the Christmas tree?

This is a variation on the popular Cover Santa’s Sleigh activity.

You will need a Christmas tree (download and print) and Numicon® shapes.

Screenshot 2020-11-26 at 18.54.03

Start with the blank Christmas tree and ask learners to use the Numicon shapes to cover it in any way they can.

Ask learners to explain how they covered the tree. Which shapes did they choose first and why? What did they notice? Are some shapes more useful than others?

How many different ways can you find to do it? Compare your tree with your friend’s. What’s the same and what’s different?

How many shapes have you used? Who has used most shapes? Who has used fewest?

Can you cover the tree using only odd shapes? Why or why not? What about even shapes?

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

Can you cover the tree using each shape at least once?

Look for learners who:

  • can reason about which shapes to use,
  • can explain their thinking,
  • can work systematically,
  • can see patterns and discuss why they are choosing particular shapes,
  • can substitute shapes so that they have more or fewer, rather than starting from scratch each time,
  • can talk about similarities and differences.
Posted in Communication using symbols, Conceptual understanding, Fluency, Logical reasoning, Mathematical language, Strategic competence

Have you seen Digit Dog’s challenge card packs?

The challenge cards are extended versions of Digit Dog’s popular posts and are now available in packs of 5 with links to Curriculum for Wales 2022.

Each pack has 5 challenge cards, linked to a theme, concept or resource. There is also an overview of how Digit Dog Challenges address the five proficiencies, and links to the relevant Descriptions of Learning in the Mathematics and Numeracy Area of Learning and Experience.

There are currently two packs available.

The first pack has activities using my favourite resource – the Two-sided Beans

Packs can be purchased from Collective Learning

The second pack has activities that focus on solving non-routine problems that involve additive relationships. They are aimed at Progression Step 2 level descriptions:

Statement of What Matters 1

I have explored additive relationships, using a range of representations. I can add and subtract whole numbers, using a variety of written and mental methods.

Statement of What Matters 2

I can find missing numbers when number bonds are not complete.

Packs are available to purchase at Collective Learning