Mental Mondays #21

mental and oral maths

Here's a versatile idea that helps children use and apply their knowledge of fractions or percentages in a surprisingly fun way. You begin by showing the children something that appears to be a word puzzle, but actually contains some covert mathematics.

However, the puzzle you show them is only the beginning. The real fun (and the real maths) begins to unfold when the children start creating their own similar puzzles.

Here's how it could start:

Tell the children they are looking for "a large bird of prey" hidden in the following information

66% TEA
40% GLASS
33% EYE

A gentle clue could be to get the children to look at the number of letters. Both 'tea' and 'ey' contain 3 letters so 33% and 66% could be indicating one or two letters of those particular words. 40% of a five letter word would have to be 2 letters. Therefore, the full solution would be:

66% TEA
40% GLASS
33% EYE

"a large bird of prey" = EAGLE

 


If appropriate, you could start the children off with an easier set of clues:

Here, we are looking for "liquid ice" (very easy):

1/3 RAW
3/4 GATE
1/4 FOUR

Clearly, fractions and decimals are interchangeable. The puzzle could also be made more complex by using equivalent fractions - 5/15 RAW or 12/16 GATE, for example.

The solution is:

1/3 RAW
3/4 GATE
1/4 FOUR

"liquid ice" = WATER

 


At this point the children should be able to work together to create their own. The focus is (of course) on the accurate use of fractions or percentages, but the language element means that it is easy to draw out cross curricular links. Maybe with a focus on 'topic' words from recent geographical or historical work, for example. Here, children used a book of place-names together with their maths skills to invent puzzles involving capital cities, the clues to which had to be UK town names!

25% LEEK + 25% KINGSTON + 40% DOVER + 10% NAILSWORTH = ?

2/8 PAIGNTON + 4/10 RIPON + 1/5 GRAYS = ?

[scroll down for answers]

 

A further thought is to focus on some apt, semi-poetic word choices - here are a couple of our favourite ideas linked to Olympic events, can you guess the appropriate sport?

1/4 HORRIBLE + 2/5 STICK + 1/4 KNEE + 1/6 INJURY = ?

50% HARD + 20% METAL + 2/5 MEETS + 1/3 AIR = ?

[scroll down for answers]

 


ANSWERS



25% LEEK + 25% KINGSTON + 40% DOVER + 10% NAILSWORTH =
LONDON

2/8 PAIGNTON + 4/10 RIPON + 1/5 GRAYS = PARIS

 

1/4 HORRIBLE + 2/5 STICK + 1/4 KNEE + 1/6 INJURY = HOCKEY

50% HARD + 20% METAL + 2/5 MEETS + 1/3 AIR = HAMMER

 


As always, I would love to hear what you think of this in the comments,
and would appreciate a couple of Likes, Tweets or Pluses.

 

13 Comments

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Cathac's picture

Love this idea. Have done

Love this idea. Have done something similar with fractions before, but can't believe I've never thought of using percentages and getting the learners to create some of their own for homework.Thanks you for sharing.It's also a twist on what I've used previously and will definitely deepen the thinking :-)
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johdu's picture

That's great. Thanks for the

That's great. Thanks for the feedback.
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Romy Walker's picture

That is pure genius! My class

That is pure genius! My class will love these- thankyou
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johdu's picture

Thanks for the feedback -

Thanks for the feedback - glad this one will be useful.
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hobbsyhobbsy's picture

 What a great way of using

 What a great way of using and applying fractions and percentages - a fantastic enrichment activity which the children loved. 
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johdu's picture

Its really good to hear that

Its really good to hear that this maths teaching idea is working so well. Fractions and Percentages can be tricky and, like you, we found that this strategy helped the children to focus on the maths... in an interesting and (somewhat) meaningful way!

Thanks for your feedback.

John

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Thom@341's picture

Great activity! I used it as

Great activity! I used it as a starter to my fractions lesson then used it as a homework activity. The children had to try it out on their family.
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gill.boyes's picture

Really original idea! I have

Really original idea! I have used it as an extension activity with my more able pupils and they've loved it.
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vizzavic's picture

 A good, fun way to start the

 A good, fun way to start the day whilst the register is being done. My Year 5s love this sort of thing. Thank you
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gvoigt's picture

looks really creative!!!!

looks really creative!!!! thanks for the help!!
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marykaracalik's picture

This looks great fun and is

This looks great fun and is very relevant for us as we have just had a staff meeting on fractions.  I am looking forward to trying it out! Thank you.
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jasper72's picture

Great cross curricular

Great cross curricular thinking for those registration / quick filltimes! Will be trialling it with my Y5s on Monday. Thanks.  
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exoi's picture

This is a really intriguing

This is a really intriguing way of working with fractions and decimals that gets the brain thinking. I'm sure the children in my Year 6 class will rise to the challenge. Thanks! 
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