Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Maths Day Teaching Ideas

Teaching Ideas for Maths Day

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11

If you’re celebrating World Maths Day, a national Maths event or you’re planning a special Maths day at your school, try some of our suggested teaching ideas…

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Can you think of any popular children’s books that include numbers or counting (e.g. The Very Hungry CaterpillarHanda’s Surprise, Six Dinner Sid)? Could you write your own counting book for children? Could you develop some problems based on them?
  • Choose a page from a book. What is the average number of words per sentence? The average number of letters per word? Which words appear most frequently? Which letters?
  • Count the number of (for example) nouns in a piece of text. Work out the percentage of the words that are nouns.
  • Set up a debate based on the title “Maths should be given more time in school” and ask children to argue for and against it.
  • Write and present a maths-based assembly.
  • Write some word problems for classmates or younger children to solve.
  • Cost out a school trip or activity and write a persuasive letter to your head teacher asking for the funding.


  • Set some maths challenges in your classroom. For example, how many windows are there? Can you work out the area of glass needed for your classroom? How much would they cost to replace?
  • Cost a school trip and work out the timings. How many coaches will you need? How much will it cost (including entry fees)?
  • Create a pictogram showing how everyone got to school today.
  • Work out the average distance travelled to school by the class.
  • Make a revision guide about a particular Maths concept.
  • Make a list of how many times maths is used at school outside of maths lessons (e.g. paying dinner money, dividing classes up into groups, making sure everyone gets a dinner!) Who needs to do that maths? What would happen if they didn’t? Use these free posters as a starting point.
  • Explore tangrams – what pictures can you make with them?
  • Mark out a grid on the playground and use it to practice coordinates on a huge scale!
  • Play ‘Higher or Lower’ with one suit from a standard pack of playing cards. What is the probability that the next card will be higher or lower? What if we use two suits? What if we use the whole pack?
  • Design your own sudoku.
  • Design some mazes outside. Have a look at these super ideas from Creative Star Learning.
  • Go on a shape hunt around the school and local environment.
  • Run a whole school times tables challenge.
  • Challenge your teachers! Make up some maths challenges they will find difficult.


  • Make a scale model of the solar system. This handy calculator can help you plan it out.
  • Measure the temperature in different parts of the school. Can you explain the variations in temperature?
  • Talk to a friend about when we use Maths as part of Science activities. What needs to be measured during Science investigations? How is it measured, and why does it need to be measured?


Design Technology

  • Design and construct nets for 3D shapes.
  • Look at the packaging of items in lunchboxes. Which shapes are used? Why have they been chosen?
  • Older children can design a simple maths track game for younger children to play.
  • Follow some simple recipes, weighing out the ingredients. What about making some biscuits in different shapes?
  • Choose a recipe and work out the ingredients you would need for twice as many people as the recipe states. What about if it were four times as many? What if it was for 100 people?
  • Building some 3D shapes with spaghetti!
  • Create some Maths-themed hats.


  • Have a look at M. C, Escher’s tessellation art and create your own. There are some amazing examples of children’s artwork on the site too, for inspiration.
  • Study the work of other artists who use geometric shapes and have a go at your own. Good examples are Mondrian. Kandinsky, Klee, Miró. Stella and Rothko.
  • Make some random art by drawing a simple grid and using a dice or spinner to determine which colour each shape is coloured. See an example here.
  • Create an artwork using only regular 2D shapes.
  • Make some symmetrical artwork (e.g. butterflies).
  • Try shape printing using classroom resources. Try using Lego to print shapes, too!
  • Use a scale grid to make a picture larger. Have a look at this NRICH idea.


  • Find out the playing time of your favourite songs / pieces of music. Use this information to find the average or to generate charts and graphs that represent the data.
  • Experiment with combining different rhythms. For example, half the class claps out a 1,2,3,4 pattern, and the other half claps out 1,2,3. What happens?
  • Sing some number songs and rhymes.
  • Make up times table raps and songs.


  • Measure the distance from your home / school to other places that you visit regularly. Create a map that shows your route.
  • Make a map showing where people in the class live. How do they get to school?
  • Discuss different ways of measuring distances. What units do we use? How do we measure short and longer distances?
  • Measure some distances around the school. How far from the front door to your classroom? How far from your classroom to the hall etc.?
  • Set up a maths trail around the school.


  • Can you find out about famous mathematicians from history? Could you write their biographies or create timelines to show the main events of their life?
  • Research maths in ancient cultures, for example, the abacus, Roman numerals etc.
  • Research historical number systems. For example, find out about Roman numerals or ancient Egyptian numbers. Make up and solve some problems using those number systems. Try inventing your own number system. Look at this chart for examples.

Physical education

  • Set up a timed circuit challenge. How many of each of these can you do in one minute? For example, bunny hops, star jumps, burpees etc. Estimate first and then check your estimate.
  • Design a maths treasure trail around your school grounds and challenge your friends to complete it.
  • Hold a Mini Olympics, awarding points for the first, second and third in each event. Work out the average race times, the average distance jumped etc.
  • Measure distances during a PE lesson; for example, how high can you jump, how far can you throw a javelin?
  • Do some line dancing or country dancing. Why is counting so important in these dances?


  • Can you find out the shape names in the language you are learning?
  • Learn the names of the numbers in the language you are learning. Look at this page for some examples.


  • Play a simple number game together. What are the rules of the game? Why does it need rules? What would happen if we changed the rules? What happens if someone ignores the rules?
  • Work across year groups to design, create and / or play maths games.

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