Emergency Maths Lessons
Here are some mathematics lesson plans to be used on the rare occasions when a class is left without their normal teacher and you are stepping in at a moment's notice.
- Starter: Halve it - Start with 512. Halve it to get 256. Halve it to get 128. Continue as far as possible.
- Make an Expression - Pupils can do this activity using pen and paper (exercise books) or, if they have access to internet connected technology, do the activity online. For some pupils the use of four cards with the numbers one to four on may help but these can be quickly made out of scrap paper. The normal challenge is to make the target numbers one to twelve but as you can see if you follow the link above there are lots of ways this task can be extended.
- 17 Times Table - As a class watch this video about a quick way of learning any times table. 17 is a good example because you can be certain that nobody in the class knows it already. Pupils should be encouraged to talk back to the video when Jill asks.
- Table Legs - Now everyone can demonstrate the mastery of the 17 times table by chanting along as the crooked finger moves up and down the table leg. An alternative activity, if pupils are internet connected, is to Beat The Clock.
- Go Figure - Now for some quiet time as pupils work, first individually, then in pairs of this number placing puzzle. There is a strategy that could be used to work out the answer but most pupils will jump in with trial and improvement first.
- 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.
- Starter: Nincompoop - Which algebraic expression is the odd one out?
- Equations - You will be able to quickly determine which level is right for the pupils in this class when you see how they coped with the Starter. You select suitable questions by clicking on the level tab at the top of the page. The exercise can either be projected onto the whiteboard for the pupils to do in their exercise books or, if the pupils are internet connected, then can still work in their exercise books but type their answers into the spaces to see if they are correct.
- Old Equations - If pupils are quite confident solving linear equations then bring out the old ones (the old ones are the best!). They have been taken from and old textbook and level 3 questions are quite complex. No calculators allowed and neat working shown clearly is essential. It is amazing to think that children were solving these very equations over 150 years ago!
- Nevertheless - This is a fascinating game which deepens pupils' understanding of linear equations. It can be played in pairs by pupils sharing an internet connected computer or numbered cards can quickly be made from scrap paper and pupils can play the game on their desks.
- 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"
- Starter: Angle Estimates - Estimate the sizes of each of the angles then add your estimates together.
- Angle Theorems Revise (or learn for the first time) the basic angle theorems using this visual aid. Click on the diagrams to access the interactive versions.
- Angle Points This is an exercise to practice using the theorems. There is a Help tab that pupils can click on to get a reminder of the theorems. Pupils speeding through this exercise can then start on the Angles with Parallel Lines exercise and if that is not challenging enough there is also an exercise on Circle Theorems.
- Angle Properties Song As a bit of light relief you could play this video of a silly song written to remind pupils of some of the theorems. Or you could decide to skip this video altogether!
- Angle Chase This can be done as a whole class activity with the design being projected onto the whiteboard but it is much better if pupils have access to computers to complete the Chase. This activity can be done in pairs with pupils taking it in turns to fill in the value of an angle.
- Finisher: Smallest Number - Everyone chooses a number. The winner is the person who has chosen the lowest number that no one else has chosen
Smallest Number Table
- Starter: Aunty Dotty - A real life situation requiring the division an amount of money according to a given ratio.
- Dividing in a ratio This is to consolidate the method of dividing in a given ratio as introduced in the Starter. It is a slide presentation in the form of a poem with some questions at the end which can be done as worked examples if necessary.
- Ratio Exercise Choose the appropriate level for your pupils. The exercise is self-marking and pupils can earn a trophy for completing a level. Here is some information about viewing the trophies pupils have earned.
Call the class together for a plenary recapping the core ratio concepts. The Random Name Generator could be used at this point.
- Pattern Clues For this part of the lesson it is recommended that pupils work in pairs (You could even use the random generator above to assign random pairs - there are many otions in the left side bar of that page). Pupils are challenged to recreate the predetermined patterns by using the clues provided.
- Finisher: Shark's Dinner - This is the mathematical version of the old game called hangman. The teacher (or computer, see link below) thinks of a mathematical word and writes dashes on the board to represent each letter of the word. Pupils have to guess the letters each of the dashes represents. If eight incorrect letters are suggested the game ends and the teacher has won. This game can also be played as a two team game. One team continues selecting letters until they select one that isn't in the word. Then the other team starts their turn. The winner is the team that completes the word.
- Starter: Estimating Percentages - Estimate the percentages of full circles and rectangles the sectors represent.
- Percentage Flash Cards Pupils can practise calculating simple percentages in their heads with this animated visual aid. There are many options you can choose so you can focus in on the types of percentages pupils are in need of help with.
- Percentages Exercise This is an online exercise with many levels. Choose the level that best suits the pupils. You can decide whether calculators are allowed and whether working should be written out neatly in exercise books.
- Fractions Decimals Percentages Presentation A slide presentation to remind everyone how to convert between fractions, decimals and percentages.
- Fractions Decimals Percentages This is the exercise to do after the presentation.
- Fraction Percentage Pairs Now have some fun with a collection of pairs games pupils can play in pairs. If pupils don't have access to internet connected technology play the games as a whole class with the game board projected on the whiteboard and the left 50% of the class playing against the right 50%.
- Finisher: Skunk - A game for the whole class to play involving chance and choice. A real opportunity to demonstrate a good sense of judgement and understanding of probability.
Skunk Game Board
- Starter: Mathterpiece - Memorise a picture made up of geometrical shapes
- Polygons This drag and drop activity will enable the pupils to revise the names of the common polygons for themselves. You may decide to ask pupils to do levels two and three too. These levels cover line and rotational symmetry of these polygons.
- Polybragging This is game pupils can play in pairs. Each player clicks the 'next shape' button (while the other player isn't looking) and the computer selects a shape at random. The players each choose a property that they would like to play with and click that button. The players can now look at each other's shapes and the scoring is worked out. Whoever has the largest value for player 1's property wins one point.
- Polygon People You may want to skip this activity if the pupils are deemed to be confident naming polygons. Otherwise this could be an opportunity to ensure everyone know how to spell difficult polygon names such as parallelogram!
- Polygon Pieces This is a great activity and is presented as a series of challenges in increasing order of difficulty. Pupils are asked to arrange the nine cards on the grid to make named polygons. The fun starts when a number of different shapes can be constructed by arranging the cards in different ways. The higher levels are only unlocked after the lower levels have been completed.
- Online Logo There is no better way to learn the way to calculate the exterior angles of a regular polygon than using this dynamic programming platform. The collection of 30 challenges take the pupil from the basics to some quite sophisticated computer programming.
- Polygon Angles Finally here is a more formal exercise on calculating the angles in regular and irregular polygons. The exercise has a number of levels and includes a number of exam-style questions,
The activities above will probably give you a series of lessons rather than just one.
- Finisher: Tardy - Tardy Tranter has finally turned up to the lesson ten minutes before the end. You have been assigned to teach him what he has missed. You have a couple of minutes to prepare any notes or diagrams you may need.
- Starter: Stair Perimeter - Use the information implied in the diagram to calculate the perimeter of this shape.
- The Great Dodecahedron This wonderful two dimensional image of a three dimensional solid provides an excellent stimulus for mathematical talk. Pupils are not allowed to use their hands to point but must describe fully any shapes they can see in this picture. This is a good opportunity at the beginning of the lesson to revise the names and properties of basic shapes.
- Area Builder Pupils can now work on their own computers or iPads individually or in pairs. This application is an interactive workspace in which to make shapes using square tiles with given areas and perimeters. It starts with very easy challenges but also contains more difficult puzzles as pupils progress through the levels.
- Area Maze Pupils will need to use their knowledge of rectangle areas to calculate the missing measurement of these geometrical diagrams. A great puzzle linked to the skills required for Secondary school mensuration.
- Composite Shapes Find the areas of combined (composite) shapes made up of one or more simple polygons and circles. This is a classic textbook exercise on area but of course it is self-marking. There are six levels of difficulty and a link to GCSE exam-style questions with worked solutions available to Teacher subscribers.
- Area Two How many different shapes with an area of 2 square units can you make by joining dots on this grid with straight lines? This is an open ended investigation requiring a knowledge of the basic area formulae.
- Finisher: Voting - If pupils have access to Internet connected devices you could ask them to vote on the validity of some debateable mathematical statements such as 'Zero is a positive number'. Their votes are automatically converted to a bar chart that you can project and then discuss.
- Starter: Fractangle - Can you see what fractions of the shapes have been shaded? It is not as difficult as it first appears.
- Fraction Dissect Pupils will need to be online for this activity. They are challenged to draw lines to dissect the rectangles to make the given fractions. This activity serves to remind pupils about the properties of fractions and to use their knowledge of equivalent fractions.
- Equivalent Fraction Pairs The Matching Game is probably the easiest of the Fraction Pairs games to begin with though there are other activities involving the same cards.
- Fractions This is the main activity for this lesson. A series of self-marking exercises on adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions. It is suggested that working is set out neatly in exercise books then the answers entered into the online form.
- Fraction Line Arrange the fractions in order from smallest to largest. There are three different fraction sorting activities which are best done online.
- Vinculum A challenge to find fractions which are larger than the previous fraction but less than one.
- Finisher: Hi-Low Predictions - The teacher has a set of large cards with the numbers 1 to 9 printed on (A large pack of playing cards would also work - Just one suit is needed). The cards are lined up, backs facing the class, on the pen rack of the whiteboard. All pupils stand up. The teacher reveals the value of the first card and the pupils guess whether the next card will have a higher or lower value (right hand up for higher and left hand up for lower). The second card is now turned around and pupils who got the wrong answer sit down. This continues along the line of cards. The last pupils to remain standing are the winners. If time allows discuss the probability of the situation.
- Starter: Negative Vibes - Practise techniques for answering questions involving negative numbers.
- Number Line Using a number line for adding and subtracting negative numbers is a must. Begin with a whole class explanation of how this works using this interactive visual aid. The number patterns in the Starter might help pupils devise rules for multiplying and dividing negative numbers but a summary can be found here: Mix and Math Level 2
- Temperatures The first exercise pupils might attempt is one involving temperatures. Here they can see negative numbers in real life situations. The temperature analogy will be useful with further understanding of negative numbers.
- Negative Numbers Now a more traditional exercise pupils can do on their own online devices (computers, laptops, iPads etc.). This exercise provides practice using negative numbers in basic arithmetic and algebraic calculations.
- Stop the lesson for a quiz question with a prize for the first correct answer (A protractor or set square would be a suitable prize). "Can you tell me what the temperature has been at noon for the past five days?" John asked the weatherman. "I don't exactly recall," replied the weatherman, "but I do remember that the temperature was different each day, and that the product of the temperatures is 12." Assuming that the temperatures are expressed to the nearest degree, what were the five temperatures? (From Amazing Brain Teasers (Puzzle Emporium)by Erwin Brecher) [One possible answer is 3,2,1,-1,-2 and it is the understanding of negative factors that is required]
- Negative Magic A challenge to complete magic squares containing negative numbers.
- Bidmaze The final negative number activity is challenge to get through a maze by completing BIDMAS calculations with some negative numbers in all but the easiest levels.
- Finisher: Manifest - Everyone (including the teacher) writes down (secretly) a single digit number, a two digit number, a three digit number and a four digit number but, for all of these four numbers, the digits 0 to 9 can only be used once. When everyone has done this the teacher reveals their four numbers by writing them on the board. Pupils then score their own numbers. If their single digit number is larger than the teacher's they score one point, if their two digit number is larger than the teacher's they score two further points and so on. Finally the pupil(s) with the highest scores take over the role of the teacher for the next round.
It doesn’t happen very often but sometimes you find yourself in the position of having to deliver a lesson at a moment’s notice. In the worst case scenario you do not know what the class have previously been learning and you have been given no information about the nature of the pupils from their normal teacher.
These lesson plans have a low threshold, high ceiling so can be great learning opportunities for a wide range of pupils and class dynamics. No preparation is required as all of the activity details can be found by clicking on the links in the plans.
If pupils complete the activities online and earn trophies as a record of their progress teachers (who are Transum subscribers) can see from their class list which pupils have earned which trophies.
Furthermore if pupils do have access to internet connected computers see Laptops In Lessons for more lesson plans. If they have iPads there are some ideas on the iPad Maths page.
You can save a link to just the lesson plan you choose from the selection below.
There is a printable page called Lectio Tumultuarios (Latin for Emergency Lesson) designed for Maths tutors (who are Transum subscribers) to have printed and stored in their folder ready to use on the odd occasion when a quick five minute time filler is required.