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Clapping Times


For this activity, you'll need to work with a partner, so the first thing to do is find a friend!
Together count from $1$ up to $20$, clapping on each number, but clapping more loudly and speaking loudly on the numbers in the two times table, and quietly on the other numbers.
Now clap the five times table together up to about $30$, so this time you are clapping more loudly and speaking loudly on the multiples of five and quietly on the others.

If one of you claps the twos in this way and one of you claps the fives, at the same time, can you predict what you would hear?
Which numbers would be quiet?
Which numbers would be fairly loud and which would be very loud?

Now try it - what did you hear?
Were you right?

Choose another pair of tables and repeat what you have just done.
How about the twos and tens?
Why not try the fives and tens?
Each time predict what you will hear before you clap - which numbers will be loud, which fairly loud and which quiet?

If you've enjoyed this activity and would like more of a challenge, try Music to my Ears .

Why do this problem?

This activity is a lovely practical way for children to investigate common multiples and to gain familiarity with their tables. It also allows children to make and justify conjectures.

Possible approach

You could start by inviting everyone in the group to clap and count the two times table at the same time so that all the children understand what is happening.

Ask pupils to talk in pairs about their predictions for each combination first and then pool ideas from the whole group, listening out for good explanations. Then each pair can test out the counting and clapping to check the class response. Alternatively, you could split the group into two and clap as a whole, or one pair could demonstrate the combination each time.

Key questions

Can you predict what you will hear?
Which numbers will be quiet? Why?
Which numbers will be fairly loud and which would be very loud? Why?

Possible extension

You could extend this activity by asking each pair to join with another pair. They could try the $2$, $3$, $4$ and $5$ times tables altogether. How long will they have to clap before they get to a number which is clapped loudly by all of them? Can they predict this before clapping?

Possible support

It may be useful for learners to use a $100$ square to record multiples on prior to, or during, this activity.