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Being Curious - Primary is part of our Developing Mathematical Habits of Mind Primary collection. You can see the full collection by scrolling down to the bottom of the Primary Curriculum page.
In Nurturing Students' Curiosity, we offer you support and advice on how to encourage your learners to be curious mathematicians.
All humans are naturally curious, and good mathematicians get excited by new ideas and are keen to explore and investigate them. As teachers, we want to nurture our learners' mathematical curiosity so they grow into creative, flexible problem-solvers. One way to nurture this curiosity is by providing the right hook to draw learners in.
We hope that the problems below will exploit learners' natural curiosity and provoke them to ask good mathematical questions.
Additionally you may find that they support the development of other problem-solving skills and mathematical habits of mind, which you could choose to highlight as and when they arise.
You can browse through the Number, Measures, Geometry or Statistics collections, or scroll down to see the full set of problems below.
Number problems for inquiring primary learners.
Measure problems for inquiring primary learners.
Florence, Ethan and Alma have each added together two 'next-door' numbers. What is the same about their answers?
What do you see as you watch this video? Can you create a similar video for the number 12?
Use five steps to count forwards or backwards in 1s or 10s to get to 50. What strategies did you use?
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make symmetrical patterns?
The Man is much smaller than us. Can you use the picture of him next to a mug to estimate his height and how much tea he drinks?
Arrange the shapes in a line so that you change either colour or shape in the next piece along. Can you find several ways to start with a blue triangle and end with a red circle?
Choose four of the numbers from 1 to 9 to put in the squares so that the differences between joined squares are odd.
Investigate which numbers make these lights come on. What is the smallest number you can find that lights up all the lights?
If there are 3 squares in the ring, can you place three different numbers in them so that their differences are odd? Try with different numbers of squares around the ring. What do you notice?
These pictures were made by starting with a square, finding the half-way point on each side and joining those points up. You could investigate your own starting shape.
Follow the clues to find the mystery number.
This activity is based on data in the book 'If the World Were a Village'. How will you represent your chosen data for maximum effect?
Try out this number trick. What happens with different starting numbers? What do you notice?
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
Watch this animation. What do you see? Can you explain why this happens?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
These clocks have only one hand, but can you work out what time they are showing from the information?
Can you order the digits from 1-3 to make a number which is divisible by 3 so when the last digit is removed it becomes a 2-figure number divisible by 2, and so on?
Start with a triangle. Can you cut it up to make a rectangle?
Think of a number and follow the machine's instructions... I know what your number is! Can you explain how I know?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Try out some calculations. Are you surprised by the results?
You'll need to know your number properties to win a game of Statement Snap...
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
The Number Jumbler can always work out your chosen symbol. Can you work out how?
Take three consecutive numbers and add them together. What do you notice?
In this interactivity each fruit has a hidden value. Can you deduce what each one is worth?