Archive for June, 2011

Telling the time, reading timetables and working together.

Telling the time is something that quite a lot of my class need to practise often. I have already uploaded some of the activities I have written this year, but here is a few more. On this revisit we are focusing on 24 hour clock, reading time tables and collaborating to solve problems. Because we are working on block D, I have tried to make links to other block D objectives, so there is a bit of coordinates and a bit of finding the difference between times.

24 hour coordinates grid

Nicknames puzzles

  • time logic (one of these is inspired by For more information follow the link below).

Collaborative puzzles

Collaborative puzzles inspired by

I adapted two time puzzles I found on to make them collaborative. To find the original puzzles click here.

Below are some useful telling the time websites that we will visit.


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Susie Snake, Maisie Mouse and other remainder puzzles

This type of puzzle is one of my class’s favourites. We tried it for the first time as an optional puzzle when we were learning about the Viking history of Gainsborough. It proved to be so popular that we have revisited a few times since in different contexts. Because the strategy to solve it requires you to talk about grouping and remainders, it is an excellent, concrete context for teaching division by drawing groups, and reinforcing the link between division and multiplication.

The class have got quite sophisticated now, that for most of them it is about number sequences more than division, and they can confidently work with multiples up to 10, with remainders up to 9 and with grouping numbers up to 100.

Here are the contexts we have met the problem in so far. Notice the first puzzles use the clues from Susie snake, the second uses the clues from Maisie mouse.


African animals



Healthy eating



In writing these puzzles, I found this interactive on very helpful. Click on the picture to follow the link.

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Kieran’s Cats, Weighing Wangdoodles and Arithmagons.

These three puzzles are one I return to often. I began year 4 solving these problems using equipment, e.g. shape cards, weighing scale pictures, digit cards etc. We then moved to using a finding all possibilities approach. Children solved the problems by writing ordered lists.  Now most of my current class can use the method suggested in the Logic draft materials booklet. It is a terrific approach because it develops data handling skills, adding three numbers using a mental or written method, halving two or three digit numbers and finding the difference.

The puzzles are easily adapted to almost any curriculum area, I have added a few that I have produced for classes over the years.

Place value


The next three links open documents that make the link between arithmagons and ‘Kieran’s Cat’ type clues. There are some interactive arithmagons on the Nrich website which you can access by clicking on the picture above or following this link.


Wizard of Oz



Robot Wars

Sports day

These next few puzzles all require children to put objects in a row. The row contains either 3, 4 or 5 objects. When there are three objects, I have used ‘Kieran’s Cats’ type clues. When there are 4 in a row I have used either ‘Esmarelda’s coins’ clues. For 5 objects, I have gone to ‘Row of Coins’ for inspiration. All these puzzles can be found in the challenging more able children book.


African animals


Measuring Cylinders

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Shape Puzzle

This is a very flexible puzzle. It can be adapted by making the grid bigger or smaller, the ‘shapes’ can be altered into almost any cross curricular images and the numbers can be given units to make it a converting units puzzle. Below are some examples of how I have adapted the problem over time.




Afican animals

  • animals 1 and 2


  • robots 1 and 2


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Coordinate grids

These next activities are very popular with my class. I began by using them as ‘information gap’ or ‘mystery’ activities, where children worked in pairs or small groups sharing clues and solving the problems together. I have moved over the year to children solving them individually as they have solved them so many times. Hope you like them. Again, like the nicknames problems, we have revisited these problems in lots of different contexts to fit in with the different cross curriculat themes. They lend themselves to shape, space and measure objectives. I have used all of these with my year 4 class this year.


  1. Children cut up the pictures to be sorted onto grid. My class have found it helpful to put their initials on the back of each picture.
  2. Read through all the clues.
  3. Where a clue tells you exactly where a picture is to be placed, place it there.
  4. Tick off the clues as you solve then.
  5. When puzzle is solved, make sure solution fits all the clues.


Telling the time

Units of measurement



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One of the things I do with my class is revisit problems in different contexts. This puzzle is from the draft logic problem materials published by Primary Strategy, which gives a full lesson plan for delivering the lesson to year 5. I have used the puzzle successfully several times in year 4. I have uploaded examples of the different contexts I have used it over the last few years. There are a few puzzles in each link. When we do them now, most children are able to produce their own grids to solve the puzzles.






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Egyptian maths

I wrote these a while ago. What do you think?

Balanced equation stuff, linked to weighing of the heart ceremony.

Place Value resources:

Egyptian Collaborative activities.

This first activity is adapted from the Pharoah activity on the Ancient Egypt website.

The Challenge – ‘Ask the experts’

You are a young assistant in the Egyptology department of a museum. Last week
you went around the museum talking to three different experts about four objects
from the museum’s collection. Each expert told you something about each of the

The conservator told you what the objects were made of and how to take
care of them.

The curator told you the history of the objects.

The archaeologist told you about when and where the objects were

You carefully wrote everything that the experts told you on separate cards.
However, you forgot to write down the names of the objects on these cards. You
have one card from each of the experts about each of the four objects. Read over
the twelve cards and match each card with one of the four objects.

I have made this into a collaborative activity with children working in three groups. Works best if you print expert clues onto different coloured card and childen take on different roles.

This next activity keeps children in role as museum curators. They work together matching buriel goods to pictures and descriptions to number the artefacts. You need to print off picture cards and clue cards.

Egyptians liked to play a game called Senet. I have adapted the sequence excel file from the Primary framewworks website so that you could play the game and investigate sequences at the same time.

There is a great pyramid excel file on the standards website to investigate addition and sequences.

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