Laptops In Lessons

Using Internet access devices in Mathematics lessons

Laptops in Maths
Top Ten

Instant Laptop Lessons

Portable Computer

Here are some 'emergency' Maths laptop lessons for the occasions when you have not had chance to plan in advance. They are designed for able Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) classes. It is not anticipated that the students will be staring at the screens for the whole of the lessons and some of the activities are designed for discussion either between pairs of students or by the whole class.

Linear Equations

Objectives: To establish then practise techniques for solving linear equations.

Starter: THOAN - THOAN stands for 'Think of a number' and there are four randomly generated THOAN puzzles to solve.


Use the starter to establish an efficient method to solve this kind of problem, maybe a notion of 'working backwards' to find the original number.

Do the self marking exercise called Think of a Number

Through discussion establish a method for solving simple linear equations, maybe considering the analogy of a balance and 'doing the same to both sides'.

Do the self marking exercise called Equations 2

Revise techniques for expanding brackets and simplifying.

Do the self marking exercise called Equations 3

Students discuss with a partner how they could check if an answer is correct before the computer marks it.

Do the self marking exercise called Equations 4


Students then do the ten questions from the previous exercise in a word processor. Find a way to format the work so that the equals signs are in a straight line as the steps of the working flows down the page.

Extension: Do the self marking exercise called Equations 5

Finisher: Unlucky 13 - Students take it in turns to count. The first person starts with one and can count one, two or three numbers. The second person starts where the first person left off and can count one, two or three more numbers.Whoever has to say "13" has to drop out of the circle.

Joke: Crushed Angle
Q. What do you call a crushed angle? A. A rectangle!

Common Misconceptions

Objectives: To be aware of common misconceptions and mistakes made by students in Mathematics

Starter: True or False? - An activity designed to address common misconceptions.


Students now mark Khmer's homework.

Students look back at the work they have done in their exercise books or on their laptops. They should collect together all of the mistakes they have made and then create a page (like Khmer's) containing their mistakes and some correct calculations. Finally they should share their work with other students to mark.

Finisher: Estimator - The teacher finds the exact value of a quantity such as the distance between two nearby towns or some world record measurement. A number line is drawn on the board and the students are asked to put a mark on the line representing their estimate of the value the teacher has chosen. The student who is closest to the actual value wins. Examples: How far is it from London to Birmingham? (102 miles or 163km) The tallest person ever to have lived was Robert Wadlow. How tall was he? (272cm) How fast is a sneeze? (160km per hour) How far away is the moon? (356,410km - mean distance)Positions Please

Joke: Dog with a bad foot
Q. Why is a dog with a bad foot like adding 6 and 7? A. Because he puts down three and carries the one.

Mental Arithmetic

Objectives: To practise the basics of numeracy

Starter: Add Quickulations - Calculations appear on the screen every few seconds. This mental arithmetic starter provides pace to the start of the Maths lesson.


Now try subtracting "Just in Time".

As a class do Mental Test 9.

Students should now take a copy of the PowerPoint presentation used to create the mental test they have just done and than adapt each question to be more relevant to their own abilities. The finished PowerPoints can be shared with the whole class or with small groups of students.

Light relief: Seven Thirteens - Does seven times thirteen really equal twenty eight?

Finisher: Around The World - People sit in a circle (representing the world!). One person stands behind one of the seated people. The teachers asks a "quick fire" Maths question to the person standing and the person seated in front of them. Whoever gets the correct answer first moves to stand behind the next person in the circle. The other sits. The first person to get all of the way around the world is the winner.

Joke: Fear
Q. Why is the number six scared of seven?
A. Because seven eight nine (7 ate 9)!


Objectives: To develop methods of calculating percentages

Starter: Fractions Decimals Percentages - Convert fractions to decimals, decimals to percentages and percentages to fractions.


Students do a self marking quiz, then Quick Percentages.

Students use the pie chart facility of their spreadsheet to produce an Estimating Percentages challenge for the person sitting next to them.

Light relief: Percentages - A short silly animated music video.

Finisher: Maths in the News - Look at the recent Maths stories that have made it into the news.Maths in the News

Joke: Halloween
Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi

3D Shapes

Objectives: To practise representing three dimensional shapes in two dimensions.

Starter: Cracker Joke - Answer the mental arithmetic questions then convert the answers to letters to find the joke.


Self marking exercise Faces Edges and Vertices.

Students attempt the Dice Net Challenge.

"How many ways can four cubes be stuck together face to face". Students may use multilink cubes to begin with then they should record their findings using Google Sketchup.

Finisher: Smallest Number - Everyone chooses a number. The winner is the person who has chosen the lowest number that no one else has chosenSmallest Number Table

Joke: How many times?
Q: how many times can you subtract 7 from 83, and what is left afterwards? A: I can subtract it as many times as I want, and it leaves 76 every time.


Objectives: To learn methods for finding the terms missing from linear sequences.

Starter: Missing Terms - Find the missing terms from these linear sequences.


As a whole class discuss the mathematical meaning of the word 'sequence'. Students think of some well known number sequences.

Using their laptops, students find the missing terms from the sequences on this page.

As a whole class discuss the use of a formula to find the nth term of a sequence.

Now students can read about the nth term and different types of sequences at BBC Bitesize.

Light relief: Mathmaticious - A mathematical parody of Fergie's Fergalicious.

Finisher: Fizz Buzz - Students take it in turn to count going around the circle. If your number is a multiple of five you have to say "fizz". If it is a multiple of seven say "Buzz"

Joke: Binary
There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who don't.

Activity Ideas

Do you have any tips for using laptops (or other portable computers) in Mathematics lessons? Click here to enter your ideas.


©1997-2017 WWW.TRANSUM.ORG