1) The Maths part of this lesson is based on a short play, which should be performed by four children at the start. Before the lesson, you will therefore need to ask for four volunteers (consisting of at least one boy and two girls – the narrator can be a boy or girl). The four roles in the play are Jamie and Lucy (two children who are staying at their Granny’s house while their parents are on holiday), Granny (who is fed up with the children being bored) and the Narrator.
2) You will need to practice the play beforehand, and each child will need a script (with their part highlighted). The scripts for the play can be found below.
3) At the beginning of the Maths Investigation lesson, ask the actors to perform Part 1 of the play.
4) Discuss the play with the class to make sure they followed what happened. Discuss what they should do now. This should involve using the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to make other numbers (up to 99). Each of these numbers can only be used once, and you can use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. For example,
5 + 1
5 + 2
5 + 3… 4 + 4 is not allowed
(because you can only use each number once in a sum).
5 + 4
5 + 4 + 1
5 + 4 + 2
3 x 4
(3 x 4) + 1
(3 x 4) + 2
3 x 5
… and so on
A worksheet for the children to write on can also be found below.
5) About halfway through the lesson, stop the class and ask the actors to perform Part 2 of the play.
6) Discuss the consequences of Part 2 of the play and ask the children to continue. They are now allowed to use the numbers 6, 7 and 8 to find the missing numbers (and those numbers which they could not find before).
7) At the end of the lesson, share the children’s results and discuss their findings. Discuss how some numbers can be made in many different ways, but some can only be made one way.
8) A large list could be put on the wall, showing how each number can be made. The children could add to this as they discover new ways of making numbers.
This activity provides a very good opportunity to teach the children about brackets and their uses, as they will need to know about making sure which operations are carried out first.
Craig McKee has contributed a spreadsheet which could be used by children to record their results. You can download it below.