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Exploring Wild & Wonderful Number Patterns

EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.

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Sending Cards

This challenge asks you to investigate the total number of cards that would be sent if four children send one to all three others. How many would be sent if there were five children? Six?

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Dice and Spinner Numbers

If you had any number of ordinary dice, what are the possible ways of making their totals 6? What would the product of the dice be each time?


Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Why do this problem?

This activity is extremely open and invites exploration at whatever the level of pupils' understanding. It can lead to a pupil having a wider understanding of what it is to multiply. Many opportunities are built in for exploring number patterns.

Possible approach

I have found it good to lay out some counters or cubes in the initial pattern and invite pupils to talk about what they notice, with the simple prompt, "Tell me what you see!".

Key questions

What do you notice?
Can you describe what you see for everyone so that they might see it too?
When appropriate - How did you work that out? What adding did you actually do?

Possible extension

Get the pupls to imagine that the pattern you've presented to them at the start is just one item in a sequence. Ask them to create/talk about what the previous/next ones might be.

For the Most Able

When this acticity has satisfied the pupil then go to 3D Stacks for a much marger 3D exploration giving numbers that have very many properties and relationships.

Possible support

Joining in with pupils so that they are very involved with the talk would be a big assett for many children.