- Who Killed Mr Dipentagram - an excellent Murder Mystery activity based on the Mr Maths Men characters created by @solvemymaths. I printed off the clue cards and laminated them, and got students to submit their answers via a Google Form to choose random "winners" from all those who got it correct.
- Cube and Tetrahedron Puzzle - a nice little puzzle for students which first involves them building an open cube and a tetrahedron.
- Make a Dodecahedron - a lovely origami activity requiring 12 individual pieces to be made before combining them into the final product. This was a great team/group activity.
- Three Utilities Problem - this is a classic maths problem, and to make it more practical I printed off some image and stuck them to pegs which I stuck in the ground, and then used coloured string to represent the pipes (images below).
- A Logic puzzle - another classic puzzle which has been around for a very long time. Three prisoners are buried one behind the other, and each has a hat put on them. They know there are two red and two green hats, but not what colour they are wearing. They can see the person in front of them, but cannot turn round. If one of them can say what colour hat they are wearing, they all go free. I had the hats, and had students act this out to try to determine the solution.
- Swinging Bottles - this was an idea from one of my colleagues. Attach a bottle with a hole in the cap, filled with sand, to a piece of hanging string and let the "pendulum" swing to see what pattern you get. What happens when you make a "double pendulum"? This was an interesting experiment.
- Towers of Hanoi - a classic puzzle, I had several wooden versions of this made by our lovely DT department for students to play around with.
- 3D Fractals - this is one I have done in previous schools, and I love it. If you have never tried it, then give it a go! I printed the template for the Sierpinski tetrahedron on white, blue, green, red and yellow paper (our House colours) and got students to make a single (or more) tetrahedron to add to the bigger model. This was the most successful activity and we already have plans for making it bigger next year.
Each year we have a Maths Week, where in class we do a variety of maths related activities not related to the curriculum. These include two fixed activities for every class: a treasure hunt round the school (there is a different version for each year group); sprint maths, which is a relay style activity we do in the school hall (groups answer a question, run round the room to get it checked and if right take the next question, if wrong, go back to their group to try again). The latter of these is a House competition.
In the rest of the lessons we have choice as a teacher of what to do, and there is a folder on our system with a selection of ideas, games and activities for each year group. Some of these include: a giant outdoor Venn Diagram; School of Hard Sums clips; Origami instructions; Taboo cards; making a clinometer and measuring the height of the school; my Non-Transitive Dice activity; a variety of murder mystery activities; and many more.
Each year we are asked to come up with one new activity to add to the folder, so that the collection is ever growing. This year, however, my idea was a bit outside the box. I wanted to run some form of activity at lunchtime in our central quad space, to make the whole week a bigger part of the school. I brought this idea (along with some of the activities listed below) to our meeting, and a couple of other members of the department immediately jumped on board. And so it was decided that in the four day week we would have three lunchtime events: two Maths Fairs (which I was in charge of organising) and a challenge the Maths Department Countdown Competition.
Given that our quad is split into four lawn areas, I wanted to have four activities for each of the two Maths Fairs. I wanted a misture between puzzles, traditional problems and hands on activities. Here is what I came up with:
Below are some photos I managed to take of the different activities. During the actual fair I was pretty busy running stands, so these are all from before it started, or after it finished.
I put together a brief document to share with my colleagues with the description of the activities, which you can view here. I also put together a set of accompanying items to print (such as the Utility images, and some instructions), which you can view here.
Overall the Maths Fairs were a big success, and definitely something we will continue to do in the future. Now I am just on the look out for some new activities to use next year.
I am a maths teacher looking to share good ideas for use in the classroom, with a current interest in integrating educational research into my practice.