This feature brings together tasks that require, to differing degrees, use of counters. Counters are a wonderful resource that can be used in mathematics in a number of ways, for example to show patterns, to model our thinking or to keep track of moves. There are two articles to read - the first offers guidance about use of manipulatives generally and the second explains why we have selected these particular activities and how counters support children's mathematical understanding in each case.

Manipulatives in the Primary Classroom link

Manipulatives in the Primary Classroom 

Stage: 1 and 2

In this article for teachers, Jenni Back offers research-based guidance about the use of manipulatives in the classroom.

Take Some ... Counters link

Take Some ... Counters 

Stage: 1 and 2

This article for primary teachers outlines how using counters can support mathematical teaching and learning.

Number Lines link

Number Lines 

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Leah and Tom each have a number line. Can you work out where their counters will land? What are the secret jumps they make with their counters?

Biscuit Decorations link

Biscuit Decorations 

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Andrew decorated 20 biscuits to take to a party. He lined them up and put icing on every second biscuit and different decorations on other biscuits. How many biscuits weren't decorated?

Making Shapes link

Making Shapes 

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange any number of counters from these 18 on the grid to make a rectangle. What numbers of counters make rectangles? How many different rectangles can you make with each number of counters?

Bracelets link


Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Investigate the different shaped bracelets you could make from 18 different spherical beads. How do they compare if you use 24 beads?

Square Corners link

Square Corners 

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?

First Connect Three link

First Connect Three 

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?