Posted in Christmas, Problem solving

Christmaths advent calendar


Digit Dog has got a Christmaths challenge for each school day in December.

Click on the images to reveal the first week’s challenges.

December 2ndScreenshot 2019-11-17 13.41.26

December 3rd Screenshot 2019-11-17 13.43.19





Screenshot 2019-11-17 13.44.42December 4thScreenshot 2019-11-17 13.46.21

                                                                                                December 5th

Screenshot 2019-11-17 13.49.21December 6th







Posted in Christmas, Numicon, Problem solving

Start planning your Christmaths with Digit Dog

One Santa’s sleigh – put the presents on Santa’s sleigh

You will need Santa’s sleighs (download and print) and a set of Numicon® shapes. Match the shapes to the spaces on the sleigh.

Screenshot 2018-11-30 16.27.13

  1. Give children just the shapes they need and let them match them to the spaces on the sleigh.
  2. Have a complete set of shapes for children to choose from.
  3. When the sleigh is covered, one partner closes their eyes, the other takes away one shape. Which one is missing?
  4. For an extra challenge, put the shapes in a feely bag and find the ones you need by touch alone.


How many shapes do you need?

Which shape will fit here…..?

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

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

Which shapes are easy to find?

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

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


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 sleigh? Which shapes will work? Which won’t? Why?

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

You use only odd shapes? Only even?

Find more ideas in the Santa’s Sleigh Challenge Booklet


Posted in Christmas

The last Christmas challenge of 2018

Stars on crackers

crackers 2.png

What do you think? How can you solve Calculating Cat’s problem?

Using the Numicon® shapes might help. Use the shapes to represent the stars.

Screenshot 2018-12-14 11.49.35.png

Or use the Cuisennaire rods to find ways to make the 19 stars.

Screenshot 2018-12-14 11.50.29.png

What if……

………..Calculating Cat wanted a differen tnumber of stars on the tree? What about 21? 22? or a larger number?

………there was a different number od stars on each cracker?

Posted in Christmas, combinations

Christmas challenge – day 16

Christmas treats – how many ways?

Eating treats.png

How many different ways could Digit Dog eat his treats?

Which one will he eat first, second, third?

How many ways do you think there could be?

How will you know when you have found all the different ways he could do it?

How are you going to record the different ways?

What about………

…….using the pictures of the treats?

…….drawing pictures of the treats?

…….writing the names or initials of the treats?

…….using a table to organise your work?

Think about how you can organise your work. How can you be systematic so that you can convince everyone that you have found all the different ways?

What if…..

……….he had a lollipop as well?

Would there then be more ways or fewer ways?

A lot more? Just a few more? Why do you think that?

Did you try the Christmas Tree Decoration Challenge on Day 11? What is the same and what is different about the two challenges? What skills and strategies did you use in both of them?

Posted in Christmas, Making totals

Christmas challenge – day 15

How many in the box?

Screenshot 2018-12-12 18.09.58.png

Digit Dog is playing a game with Calculating Cat. He has 6 tree decorations and has hidden some of them in his box. Calculating Cat has to work out how many he has hidden.

Calculating Cat is thinking about the Numicon® shape to help her work out how many are in the box.

  • She knows the whole is 6 – that’s the number of decorations Digit Dog had to start with.
  • She knows one of the parts is 3 – that’s the number of decorations not in the box.
  • Now she can work out the unknown part – that’s the number of decorations in the box – by thinking about the spaces in the Numicon® shape.

Screenshot 2018-12-12 18.18.47.png

She could have solved the problem by using number bonds. If she knows 3 + 3 = 6, she can work out the missing number.

What if………

……….Digit Dog put a different number of decorations in the box?

………..he had more decorations to start with? Fewer decorations?

Try out the game for yourself. One person hides objects in a box, their partner works out how many are hidden. Remember to explain how you work it out.