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Teach maths in context - what's on in 2018?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018
Primary maths comes to life when it is placed in context, it can spark interest and give maths purpose when used to investigate real-life situations. So what events are there this year that could inspire your maths teaching? I've listed some annual events and a few that are only happening in 2018. There are teaching ideas and resources that you can use to plan your maths around the year of 2018.

Annual Events


Pancake Day Maths activities for Pancake Day - make your own pancakes, estimate the weight of an egg, plan a pancake party. 

1 March - World Book Day Take a look at how to link maths to poetry 

14 March - Pi Day Have a day looking at circles. KS1 can find and identify circles and KS2 can discover simple pi pattern through measuring, using mulitpication and division facts and rounding to the nearest whole number. 

Easter  Take your pick from a choice of Easter maths activities - repeating patterns, egg tangram and traditional egg rolling.

April - National Gardening week Growing plants has 'sow' many maths opportunities. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have some great resources and there are activities for KS1 and KS2. 

May -  Chelsea Flower Show Find Fibonacci numbers on plants  and try counting pollen.

June -  My Money Week Young Money provides educational resources for primary and secondary schools. Take a look at last year's activities and register your interest for free resources for June 2018.

A few events in 2018

XX1 Commonwealth Games
April 4-15


Tom Daley, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Greg Rutherford should be there competing in diving, track and field events along with many other sports including netball, gymnastics and cycling.

• Maths on the athletics track
Athletics gives opportunities to some great body maths with EYFS/KS1 using cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. For KS2 track events are great for calculation and fractions using large numbers, as well as activities using statistics, time, rounding and ordering decimal numbers.  

• Which sport does each person play?
This maths mystery involves logic and encourages reasoning, problem solving and working collaboratively. The activity is ready to download, print and use. Children work in groups and are given six clues to help them 
to determine which sport is played by each contestant.

• Plan your own commonwealth games activities
Although ready-made resources are good they don't always match exactly the maths you want to teach. Take a look at these examples of how to create your own activities from the data or how to tailor good maths activities you have to match the context - this example uses the well-known Kieron's Cats problem. 

Space exploration - Mars mission

 May 2018

Mars - images from the Hubble telescope

Space is a great topic in primary schools, and better when linked to an event. However, topic based learning often includes many curriculum areas apart from maths, so don't forget to take opportunities to use maths learning. 

NASA provides good information on Mars and the InSight mission that will place a craft on Mars to study the planet in more detail.

• Space Maths Mystery
This space maths activity asks children to find the job of each astronaut and find out how many flights each has been on. The puzzle clues are ready to download, print and give to each group and there is support for you to prompt children if they get stuck. 

• Shapes and stars
Using 2D shapes how many different ways can a star be drawn?
There are activities for both KS1 and KS2 to explore the properties of 2-D shapes.

Making a paper star involves accurate measuring and then you can take a look at calculating perimeter and area of star shapes. 

Football World Cup

June-July 2018

The 2018 World Cup takes place in Russia in June with 64 matches over a month. 

Football Statistics
The World Cup is a great way to use football statistics in primary maths  and there is even some football maths data for KS1. The information in these articles are for previous World Cup competitions but there is up to date information on the size of each stadium in Russia and England player profiles with weight, height and footballing achievements. 

Addition in a football context
This a great way to have some fun with addition - if each letter of the alphabet is a given number what would be the total for ENGLAND? Does RUSSIA score more?

Football Game for 2 players
Help yourself to a free football game using logic for 2 players that can be downloaded and printed. 

Take a general look at dates

Learn how to calculate the the day of the week for any date using the Doomsday Rule

Find 'square' or 'prime' dates - 04.09.16 has consecutive square numbers.

2013 was the first year since 1987 not to have a repeating digit and then we had a flurry of them. Will it happen again?
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