Posted in Logical reasoning, Mathematical language, What do you notice?

Bottle Top Bugs – What do you notice?


Digit Dog and Calculating Cat have arranged their bugs in 4 rows of 4.

What do you notice?

How many ways can you finish the sentence?

I notice that……….

Screenshot 2018-06-06 12.20.39

Is Calculating Cat correct? Or has she made a mistake? Convince me. Explain your thinking.

What can you say about:

  • the rows?
  • the columns?
  • the number of bugs?
  • patterns in the numbers on the bugs’ backs?
  • diagonal patterns?
  • odd ones out?
  • totals of spots?
  • their eyes?
  • anything else?

Digit Dog is also asking What do you wonder?

Look at the bugs and finish the sentence – I wonder…………..

How many ways can you finish the sentence? You might say things like:

I wonder what the total of each row is……

I wonder which row has the lowest total……..

I wonder if I can arrnage the bugs in order………

Collect the I wonder statements to use as challenges and activities.

Posted in Counting, Mathematical language, Subitising

Bottle Top Bugs

Wondering what to do with the tops of plastic milk bottles?

Make a set of Bottle Top Bugs.

Draw eyes and spots. Think about the patterns of spots – this arrangement focuses on the pattern of 5. The numbers above 6 are arranged as “5 and some more”.
The spots on these bugs are arranged to match the Numicon shape patterns.
These bugs have “goggly eyes” and the spots are divided into two so that number bonds can be explored.

Look at your bugs.

Count the spots and put the bugs in order.

Try to say how many spots there are without counting in ones. Start to recognise patterns.

Find the Bug

Find the bug with 5 spots. Now find the one with one more than 5, one less than 5, two more/less than 5.

Find two bugs that have 8 spots altogether. Can you find another two with 8 spots? How many different pairs can you find? How do you know you have found them all?


More activities with Bottle Top Bugs.

Posted in Counting, Fluency, Mathematical language

Counting leaves

Digit Dog is out in the garden again. This time he is counting leaves.

counting in threes

See if you can find some leaves that are arranged in threes.

Put the leaves in front of you, counting in threes as you go. Now take them away and count back in threes. Write the numbers you are saying. Find the numbers on digit cards or on a number line.

Digit Dog has 4 groups of 3 leaves. He has 12 leaves altogether.

What if he had 6 groups of 3 leaves? How many leaves would he have then?

What if he had 15 leaves altogether? How many groups of 3 would he have?

Make up some questions like this to ask someone about your set of leaves.

What about finding leaves that are arranged in different numbers?

leaves in nines

What do you think?

Posted in Length, Mathematical language

Sticks in order

The sun is shining and Digit Dog has been in the garden collecting sticks.

sticks in order

sticks in order W

He noticed that his sticks were different lengths and put them in order.

See if you can find some sticks and put them in order.

Talk about your sticks:

Say how many you have found.

Choose two sticks and say “This one is longer than this one”.  “This one is shorter than this one”.

Choose more than two sticks and say which is the shortest and which is the longest.

Make a set of sticks that are all the same length.

Choose one stick and look for other objects that are longer than it, shorter than it and the same length as it.

Make some pictures using your sticks. Have a look at this idea on