Using spatial language and reasoning
enjoy moving around obstacle courses, especially if these involve a variety of movements like balancing, jumping and crawling.
model a commentary using directional language, such as going around, under, over
, encouraging children to describe their movements and to devise their own courses.
Set up a simple course, with for instance, planks to balance along, hoops to jump in, tunnels to crawl through and tables to go over or under.
Encouraging mathematical thinking and reasoning:
Tell me what you're doing.
I am going up, I am going over, I am going down, I am going under, I am going through…
Perhaps we could go across something or between some things?
What about a slalom course of cones – how far apart do they need to be?
Suppose we do the course backwards, what would come first, then?
Can you make your own obstacle course? What might you use - there are hoops, cones, large blocks and planks? Can you make some stairs? What about a circuit?
Can you make a course to get from here to there without touching the ground?
Could you draw a plan or map for your obstacle course? What about adding some arrows to show people which way to go?
The Mathematical Journey
Shape, space and position:
- directional language e.g. over, under, along, across, around, between, forwards, backwards, and later left and right
- visualising and making routes connecting points in different ways
- drawing plans of a course (representing 3D spatial relationships in 2D); beginning to use symbols e.g. arrows
- counting hoops or cones as children jump in or go around each one
- comparing distances e.g. putting hoops or stepping stones nearer or further apart
- measuring how far apart to put slalom cones
Development and Variation
- make obstacle courses with different specifications e.g. not touching the ground, connecting different points, making a circuit
- use stepping stones to make pathways
- visit mazes and help to design and make their own.
Crates, tyres, planks, blocks, hoops, cones, tunnels, tables, chalk (e.g. for adding annotations on the playground), large boxes…
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Acknowledgement: Sharon Palfreyman and children at Corrie Primary and Nursery School