# Lost Sheep

## A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day

2n

n+n

n x n

n2

2 + n

n + 2

2n - n

n

2n + 2

Which is the lost sheep, the one without a partner?

Click on a button below to change the expressions. You are currently looking at level 1

Very simple expressions

Simple expressions with brackets

Slightly more difficult expressions

Share

Topics: Starter | Algebra

• Transum,
•
• So the sheep move around! Annoying isn’t it? But in real life things move, mathematics can be dynamic rather than always presented in a traditional and expected way. In addition to understanding the algebra pupils will need to find a strategy for keeping track of the sheep so that they can put pairs together and find the odd one out. Did any of your pupils come up with a smart way of solving this problem?
• Frustrated, Thailand
•
• Doesn't seem to work. it's just sheep moving round a screen with no way of selecting the one you want.

[Transum: Ah, I see your frustration! While many of the activities on this site are interactive, this one was not. However, thanks to your suggestion, it has been changed so that you can drag the sheep as you wish across the screen to pair them up. Thanks for the idea.]
• David Payne, St Anne's Southampton
•
• Love this. Thanks again!
Did you notice the spelling mistake - espressions!

[Transum: Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me of the typo. Much appreciated. I have now made the correction and hope you'll now love this Starter even more. Thanks again.]
• David Payne, St Anne's Southampton
•
• I liked it so much I am using it again today (with a different class). We are trying to work out why it is called Nincompoop.
Is it just that the stupid sheep is the one without a friend or is there a deeper meaning?
• Transum,
•
• It is wonderful to hear that you are using this activity again David. Nincompoop was the favourite word of Mr Harris, my Primary school Year 5 teacher many many years ago. I don't know where the word comes from and most dictionaries play safe and list it as 'origin unknown'. It is a silly-sounding word for a foolish person but seemed apt for a sheep that had a unique algebraic expression. I suppose it makes a more memorable, intriguing title for an activity than 'Algebraic Expression Without An Equivalent'!
• Nincompoop, Shay
•
• Love this! I don’t think I would be permitted to have students play it becaof its name. In America that name would not be acceptable to in a classroom. Something like Lost Sheep would be acceptable, but we wouldn’t be allowed to call anything a nincompoop. Lo.

[Transum: Many apologies if that word is offensive in your region. I have looked it up in many dictionaries, both American and British, and can only find references to it meaning silly or foolish (or similar). Having said that I think your suggestion for a different title is very good so I have changed it to Lost Sheep.]

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.

If you don't have the time to provide feedback we'd really appreciate it if you could give this page a score! We are constantly improving and adding to these starters so it would be really helpful to know which ones are most useful. Simply click on a button below:

Excellent, I would like to see more like this
Good, achieved the results I required
Satisfactory
Didn't really capture the interest of the students
Not for me! I wouldn't use this type of activity.

This starter has scored a mean of 3.0 out of 5 based on 1529 votes.

Previous Day | This starter is for 29 October | Next Day

Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon search box and some items chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics to get you started.

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent gift for anyone.

The redesigned Retina display is as stunning to look at as it is to touch. It all comes with iOS, the world's most advanced mobile operating system. iPad Pro. Everything you want modern computing to be. more...

I had been tutoring the wonderful Betsy for five years. When the day came for our last ever session together before the end of her Year 13, I received this beautiful book as a gift of appreciation.

This a very readable book by Ben Orlin. I'm really enjoying the humour in the writing and the drawings are great.

Ben Orlin answers maths' three big questions: Why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard? The answers come in various forms-cartoons, drawings, jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that mathematics should belong to everyone.

## A Compendium Of Mathematical Methods

How many different methods do you know to solve simultaneous equations? To multiply decimals? To find the nth term of a sequence?

A Compendium of Mathematical Methods brings together over one hundred different approaches from classrooms all over the world, giving curious mathematicians the opportunity to explore fascinating methods that they've never before encountered.

If you teach mathematics to any age group in any country, you are guaranteed to learn lots of new things from this delightful book. It will deepen your subject knowledge and enhance your teaching, whatever your existing level of expertise. It will inspire you to explore new approaches with your pupils and provide valuable guidance on explanations and misconceptions. more...

 Teacher, do your students have access to computers?Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons? Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Transum.org/go/?Start=October29

Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.

Transum.org/go/?Num=282

## Curriculum Reference

See the National Curriculum page for links to related online activities and resources.

For Students:

For All: