Posted in Counting, Easter, Estimation

Easter estimating

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

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“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.

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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.

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What’s the same and what is different?

Posted in Christmas, Counting

Christmas challenge – Day 9

How many?


Use a piece of Christmas wrapping paper and just ask the question “How many?”

At first, don’t specify what needs to be counted, let the question be open and the children come up with ideas and be creative.

I can count…….3 Santas, 3 elves, 3 snowmen.

You don’t need to stick to counting in ones……….I can count 32 eyes, that’s 16 groups of 2, 16 x 2 – true or false?

I can count 4 groups of 3 trees and 6 groups of 2 trees.

I can count 12 boots – I wonder how many people that is………..

What about this one? What will you count now?



Posted in Christmas, Counting

Christmas challenge – Day 4

Four chimneys to climb – counting games

Game 1:

This is a simple game to give young children practice in counting. The game gives you the opportunity to talk about counting and assess children’s thinking. How does the child count the dots on the dice – count in ones or recognise the number of dots without counting? Can the child say the number on the dice and then count that number of counters accurately?


You need to make game boards with it 4 “chimneys” for each child.

(Download boards English in colour, English black and white, Welsh colour, Welsh black and white and make the board so that the chimneys have 12 spaces).

How to play: Children have a board each and take turns to throw the 1 – 6 dice and collect the correct number of counters. They then place the counters on one of the chimneys – their choice, but all the counters for that turn have to go on the same chimney. The object is to fill all the chimneys with counters. You have to roll the correct number to finish filling any chimney.


How do you know you’ve got the right number of counters to match your roll on the dice?

How many counters did you put on the chimney?

How many more counters do you need to fill the chimney?

Which chimney has most counters? Least counters?

Game 2:

For an easier game play with boards that have 10 spaces and a dice with numbers 1 – 3. Either play with counters in the same way as Game 1 or make links with the Numicon® shapes. Pick up Numicon® shapes instead of counters and place on the chimneys.

Game boards  – 10 colour, 10 black and white.

Game 3:

This game is for children who are ready to practise exchanging ones for tens.You need a board for each child, Base 10 resources and a dice.

Game boards: English, Welsh

How to play: Children have a board each and take turns to throw the dice. The number they roll indicates how many “ones” they count and place on the first chimney. When they have 10 “ones”, they exchange them for one “ten” and put that on the chimney. Continue until they have 10 tens. When they have 10 tens they exchange this for one “hundred” and collect a present.

Throw the dice, collect the ones and put them on the first chimney.
When you have 10 ones, exchange them for 1 ten.
Continue in this way until you have 10 tens – you have to have the exact number to finish.
Now exchange your 10 tens for one 100 block and claim your present.


Posted in Books, Counting, Remainder of One

A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes


Great book for investigating division and remainders and arrays and multiplication and number patterns and …………..

The 25th bug squadron (it has 25 bugs) needs to organise itself into lines to march in the bug parade.

“The 25th squadron marched past the bug crowd,

bound and determined to make their queen proud.

The troop had divided by two for the show.

Each bug had a partner – except soldier Joe”.

Poor Joe is left out and gets into trouble because the queen “likes things tidy”.

Find out what happens when the squadron divides into threes and fours. Guess who is left out each time. However, there is a happy ending when the bugs decide to march in fives:

“Five lines of soldiers with five in each row……

perfect at last – and that’s counting Joe.”

Act out the story with children themselves – What would the name of your class squadron be? What would happen if your class squadron was trying to march in tidy rows to please the queen? How many would be in each row? When would there be remainders like Joe?

What about other classes? Would they march in the same way as you?

Investigate different squadrons and tell their stories.

Use different resources to act out the story and investigate other numbers.

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Posted in Counting, Number sense, Subitising


Subitising is being able to look at a small set of objects (up to 5) and say how many there are without counting in ones. Once children can count objects reliably we want them to move onto subitising – an important step in the development of number sense.

Perceptual subitising – instantly recognising a small group of objects.

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How many Digit Dogs can you see?

Conceptual subitising – seeing smaller groups within a larger group to say how many there are without counting in ones.


I know there are 7 because I see 5 and 2 more.

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I know there are 7 because I can see 4 and 3 more.

Show these slides for a couple of seconds to practise subitising. Click once to reveal the image, click again for it to disappear.

Posted in Counting

Using the flik-flak to count in 2s

Use the flik-flaks as a quick way to practise counting in 2s.


Show children the flik-flak and ask:

How many dogs can you see?  How many eyes can you see?  How many ears can you see?  How did you count them?

Fold the flik-flak:









How many eyes can you see now? How did you count them? Did you count in 2s? Did you say “3 lots of 2”?



If you can see 2 eyes, how many eyes are hidden?  How do you know?  Explain your thinking.



Posted in Counting, Making totals, Number sense

Using flik-flaks to practise number bonds to 10

Use the flik-flaks as a quick way to practise number bonds to 10.


Show children the flik-flak and ask:

“How many dogs can you see?” “How did you count them?”

Count the dogs in each row. Ask questions such as “Which row has most dogs?” “Which row has the fewest dogs?” “Which row has one more than the bottom row?”

Before continuing, make sure children are confident that there are 10 dogs altogether.

Fold the flik-flak:



“How many dogs can you see now?”

“How many dogs are hidden?” “How do you know?” “Explain your thinking”.

“How many dogs altogether?”

Fold the flik-flak in a different way:

Ask the same questions.

“How many dogs can you see now?”

“How many dogs are hidden?” “How do you know?” “Explain your thinking”.

“How many dogs altogether?”


Keep folding the flik-flak to explore all the combinations of numbers to make 10.

I can see 1 dog. 9 dogs are hidden. 9 + 1 = 10
I can see 3 dogs. I know 7 are hidden because 3 +7 = 10.
I can see 7 dogs, so 3 dogs must be hidden because 3 + 7 = 10


Posted in Counting

Using flik-flaks to practise counting

Print your flik-flak onto A4 paper and laminate. Fold along the black lines and you’re ready to go.

Start with the Digit Dog flik-flak:

Download Digit Dog flik-flak here

In a large group:

Hold up the Digit Dog flik-flak and ask how many……can you see? You can show all the numbers from 0 to 10 by folding on the black lines. This allows children to practise counting sets of objects up to 10.

Once children can confidently count objects with 1:1 correspondence, encourage them to subitise i.e. to recognise amounts without counting.

Look for patterns within numbers and help children understand that numbers are composed of smaller numbers e.g. fold the Digit Dog flik-flak in half as shown, ask How many dogs can you see? What else can you see? I can see 4 and 1, and 3 and 2……..Explain your thinking. Repeat by folding to show other numbers.


Use the flower flik-flak, fold it in half to show 6 flowers.

What do you notice? How many flowers can you see? How many purple? How many red? How many yellow? How many altogether?

Repeat by folding to show other numbers.

Download flower flik-flak here

In a small group:

Give children individual flik-flaks and ask them show me questions. Use your questions to develop mathematical language and reasoning skills.

Use your flik-flak to show me:

  1. Single digit numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4 ……etc.
  2. The numbers 0 – 10 in order. How many ways can you show each number?
  3. The same number as I am showing.
  4. One less / one more than 3, than 4….. etc. How did you work it out? Can you do it without counting?
  5. More/fewer than I am showing. Explain your answer. Has everyone got the same answer? Can you give me another answer?
  6. 3 and 2, 4 and 2, 3 and 3. Can you do it in a different way? Has everyone shown it in the same way? What is the same, what is different?


Coming next: Using flik-flaks to count in steps of more than 1