You may also like

Prompt Cards

These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is numerical, one geometric.

Consecutive Numbers

An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.

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.

Train Carriages

Age 5 to 11
Challenge Level

Why do this problem?

This activity appeals to many pupils much more than being presented with "sums" to do. It may make use of number bonds and facts that the pupils already know.

Possible approach

Use something fairly large to represent the $24$ carriages - even carriages from a toy train set would be great! You could create an IWB file that allowed you to create multiple copies of the carriage and to move them around the screen.

Encourage children to suggest some ways of making the trains to start with and display them using whatever you have chosen. If possible, keep these to be referred to later. Give children time to work in pairs on the challenge. You may want them to put each solution on a separate strip of paper, because then you could use these in the plenary to order the solutions in some way and this will help the group work out if they have missed any out.

Key questions

How many carriages here?
Which train has most carriages?
How many carriages have you used?

Possible extension

Explore the results for $20, 21, 22$ and $23$ carriages, and compare them.
Encourage children to ask "I wonder what would happen if ...?".

Possible support

Some of the youngest pupils may need help in counting accurately and not counting the same carriages twice.