Teaching year 1 maths: Maths activities for Year 1: what are the most effective?

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Teaching maths creatively including games and ICT

Adding creativity into Mathematics

“Childrens imaginations are the most powerful and energetic learning tool,” (Egan, 1988).

A key component of teaching mathematics creatively is giving the children the opportunity to use their imagination (Briggs and Davis, 2008). In schools, teaching maths ‘creatively’ is becoming more and more prominent. Through giving children the opportunity to experiment, question and develop their curiosity, creativity and enjoyment are established in maths lessons (Eastaway, 2012). Implementing creativity in mathematics effectively engages children and generates enthusiasm for the subject (DfES, 2003; Back, 2005). This is fundamental as enthusiasm and interest are two key requirements for children to learn (Pound and Lee, 2011).

For our webpage, in terms of teaching and learning mathematics creatively we have chosen to focus on:

  • Role play,
  • Teaching and Learning Outdoors,
  • Stories

Some additional ideas have also been noted under ‘other’.

Role Play

Role-play motivates and engages children. For it to be effective, it must be accessible to all learners and challenge them (Briggs and Davies, 2008).


Establishing a shop environment within the class, helps develop their understanding of money (Briggs and Davies, 2008). Supermarket – have a range of items on display in the classroom. Give each of the children an amount of money and they will then choose some items to buy. They have to consider what items they can afford to buy, whether they would like to buy more than one of an item. When they head to the checkout, they will calculate the change with the checkout assistant. The children will swap roles half way through to ensure each child has a go at taking on the role of the checkout assistant and the shopper. The level of difficulty of this activity can vary. The prices of the items and the money given may have no d.p., 1 d.p. or 2 d.p.s.

KS1 – Role play based on the The Three Little Pigs (Clissold et al. , 2001). During this role play, the classroom becomes a construction site for the children to build houses for the the three little pigs. Areas of mathematics which can be explored:

Shape – the children will design the hiuses using 2D and 3D shapes .

Money – they will buy the materials they would like to use.

Measure – they will measure lengths of materials using non-standard units.

Counting – they will count up how many of each material they have.

KS2 – Year 5 – Role play, in which the classroom becomes a travel agent (Clissold et al., 2001). Areas of mathematics which can be explored:

Data – reading tables to locate the required information (prices and availability – dates)

Money – calculating prices of different holidays

Percentages – working out sale reductions, special offers and group discounts

Time – using departure times and how long the flights will take to calculate time of arrival. The children can also look into time differences across the world.

Click here to watch the following video – ‘Teacher’s TV: Making Numbers Real,’ in which examples of songs and role plays to use in mathematic lessons, across key stages 1 and 2 are demonstrated.

Incorporating role play and stories into mathematics lessons:

Click here for a link to a theatre and educational company, ‘Make Believe Arts’. An aspect of their work focuses on Creative Mathematics. On their website a pdf can be downloaded: ‘Individual Math Stories,’ which includes ideas for across the Key Stages 1 and 2 and a video is also available to watch, which shows examples of these stories being used in the classroom.


Other useful resources for teaching maths creatively, which have the additional advantage of being cross-curricular, are stories (Back, 2005). Pound and Lee (2011, p.72) are of the opinion that “stories make things memorable.” Egan (1988) believes that stories can be used to teach any subject, including mathematics. They engage the children and bring mathematical thinking alive (Egan,1988; Pound and Lee, 2011). Through stories, children can build on their understanding of mathematical ideas and can promote mathematical discussion within the class, as well as being introduced to key mathematical vocabulary through stories (Numberline Lane, 2004). In addition, stories have been found to improve children’s dispositions towards mathematics (Hong, 1996).

Examples of stories:

Click here to view a blog post with examples of stories to use in mathematics lessons for both Key Stage 1 and 2.

Key Stage 1:

This book includes a maths game, along with mathematical facts, recommended by Pound and Lee (2011). Spinderella is the main character, a spider who loves football. When trying to play a game of football she is unsure how many spiders each team should have and is unable to count up the goals scored. She is helped by a classroom in the school, where she lives on the ceiling of the hall and the class help her divide the spiders into two teams and to count the score. Main topics: Counting and dividing by 2. KS1; fluency.

Click here for a list of story books recommended for use in Key Stage 1 for mathematics. The list has been organised into the main mathematical topics.

Numberline Lane – a series of ten maths storybooks

Key Stage 2:

Maths-Based Fairy Tales for Year 3 and 4 (Hopkins and Weiss, 2008) – This book contains activities associated with fairy tales for making problem solving in mathematics engaging and fun. Ideas can be taken from these stories and applied to other stories, which are based on similar concepts.

Rapunzel – solving problems through doubling and identifying patterns.

The Three Little Pigs – solving problems through multiplying by ten, subtracting multiples of ten and adding multiples of ten. Children also develop their reasoning skills through this activity (reasoning is one of the three main aims of the national curriculum for maths).

Jack and the Beanstalk – solving problems based on money through adding, subtracting and multiplying different amounts of money.

The Princess and the Pea – solving problems based on area and perimeter.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin – solve problems through number sequences. This activity also builds on children’s reasoning skills.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff -this activity develops children’s systematic thinking and logical thinking.

Using stories as a stimulus:

To consolidate children’s understanding of aspects of measure (units and conversion between units) and ratio and proportion, stories in which something can be made, can be used as a stimulus for lessons and tasks.

For example: The Gingerbread Man – Making Gingerbread (Bromley, 2005). Children can be given a recipe for gingerbread and can identify the ingredients used to make it. These ingredients can be bought in for the children to see what units they are normally measured in and they can convert the amounts to different units. The idea of proportion can also be explored with the ingredients.

A stimulus for problem solving (solving problems is one of the three main aims of the national curriculum for maths). Example: Jack and the Beanstalk – How many magic beans? (Bromley, 2005). This activity is suitable across the two key stages and can be adjusted to suit each year group in terms of how many beans in the magic bag and the types of questions asked. For the activity, there will be a number of beans in a magic bag. The children will ask questions to work out the number of beans and all the teacher can answer is yes or no. They are not able to guess numbers continuously, ‘are there 24 beans, are there 17 beans?’  Teachers should encourage questioning along the lines of ‘is it more than 27? Is the number a multiple of 5?’ Through questioning, the children will be able to develop the idea of thinking systematically.

The Outdoors – Teaching Maths Creatively

The DfES (2006a) are of the opinion that all children in primary schools should experience learning outside, regardless of their age. The outdoor environment provides opportunity to teach creatively and imaginatively (Dabell,2008). Taking teaching out of the classroom and into the outdoor environment boosts children’s cognitive and personal development  and may also increase a child’s confidence in the subject (Louv, 2006; DfES, 2006a; Dabell, 2008). Through teaching and learning outside, children can see how mathematics relates to real life (Dabell, 2008).


1. Angles – KS2 (Pound and Lee, 2011)

The level of difficulty of this activity can be adjusted according to year group. Children use chalk to draw a circle on the playground and they will label the following angles: 900, 1800, 2700 and 3600. This helps them comprehend the size of each of these angles both individually and in comparison to one another.  Key vocabulary can also be labelled on: a right angle, an acute angle and and obtuse angle.

Angle Hunt (Dabell,2008)

The class are split into groups and their challenge is to find as many different angles they can in a designated space. They will draw the angles they find and estimate their size.

2. Symmetry

Symmetry walk – the children walk around the school grounds looking out for examples of symmetry. They will draw the examples they find (Dabell, 2008).

3. Negative Numbers – KS2 (Pound and Lee, 2011)

Children dig holes in a patch of soil. One scoop dug out = -1. Two scoops = -2 and so on. This helps the children count in negative numbers. The ground level = zero. If they fill up the hole and add a scoop = 1, add 2 scoops = 2. They could also use this activity to help with subtraction. For example, the children might have added 2 scoops to the ground level, which represents the number 2. Then to subtract 5 from 2 they would dig up 5 scoops and end up with -3. Through this example, the children are given the opportunity to explore and think about negative numbers.8

Other – Additional ideas for making mathematics lessons creative, going beyond the worksheet and making activities interactive.

Click here to view a booklet full of kinaesthetic mathematic activities for key stages 1 and 2.

Maths games – The game below can used in both key stages, with the numbers changed according to the year group. Games offer children the opportunity to explore various mathematical ideas and deepen their understanding through fun activities.

Idea from Pinterest

Counting – Reception

Constructing steps out of building blocks for the children to move soft toys up and down the steps to build on their understanding of counting forward and back. It introduces them to the idea that as you count up/move the toy up more stairs, the numbers get bigger, as you count back/move the toy down the stairs, the number gets smaller.

Source: Ofsted, 2011

5-minute maths challenges

We created this idea and thought the challenges could be undertaken during the school day at any point or as a plenary or starter for a mathematics lesson. One example is to give each child a number. Displayed around the class are different number sentences, they need to find the ones that their number is the answer for. Challenge to see who finds the most.

Place Value – Straws

To support children’s understanding of place value, in addition to Dienes, Numicon and Arrow cards, drinking straws can also be used. The children can collect 10 straws and secure them with an elastic band to make a bundle. This bundle of 10 straws represents the dienes ten stick and helps children understand that even though it is one stick, it has a value of 10. The children can then be questioned on how many of these bundles fit into a hundred. When talking through with them that 10 of these bundles fit into 100, it reinforces the idea to them that our number system is based on 10. They can then secure the 10 bundles with an elastic band to make a 100. This bundle of 100 straws represents the hundreds square. This helps children understand that even though it is one square, it has a value of 100.

Time – Year 3 – Using a parachute to represent a clock

This idea came from a lesson observation. The teacher chose 12 children to sit round the edge of the parachute and they each held up a number on a mini-whiteboard to represent the hours. A child sat in the middle with a minute hand and a hour hand made out of lego. Firstly, as a warm up the child in the middle moved the minute hand round the clock and the class counted up in 5s. Next, they played a game in which the child in the middle had both hands at 12 and the teacher stood by 12, then a child that was not part of the clock, shouted out a time. The children representing the clock had to let the child in the middle know where to put the minute and hour hands before the teacher had walked round the parachute once. The children swapped roles during the game so that everyone had a turn.

Ratio and Proportion – Year 6 – We formulated an idea based on making sandwiches for Sports Day and this idea would work for an infinite number of scenarios.  

The children will be informed that to make sandwiches for a certain number of people for sports day, certain amount of bread, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, chicken slices, cheese and ham will be required. The children will create a table with columns for number of people and amount of: bread, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, chicken slices, cheese and ham. Every 5-10 minutes, announcements will be made adjusting the number of people attending sports day. The children will then have to fill in the columns for how much of each type of food will be needed for the new number of people attending. It is important that the children understand that what you do to the number of people attending (e.g. multiply by 3), you do the same to the amount of each type of food required.

A fundamental point to emphasise is that assessment for learning in mathematics does not always have to be through work in their maths books or the completion of worksheets. Photos can be taken or mini-whiteboards scanned to provide evidence.

ICT in the classroom

ICT as a resource for mathematics

ICT tends to be narrowed down to just how we use computers within the classroom, when in actual fact, ICT as a resource and tool to support learning within mathematics can include calculators, televisions, digital cameras and programmable robots (Hansen, 2007). Whilst all of these can be used within a mathematics setting, and Hansen (2007) believe they all should be, as with resources across the curriculum and key stages, it is the effectiveness with which a resource or tool is implemented and the quality of the teacher intervention and interaction with the resource that will really bring about meaningful learning. It is therefore vital that ICT resources are used to support and not to replace teaching.

So why use resources?

One of the most popular classroom tools to come to the forefront are the infamous Interactive Whiteboards, a concept we are all familiar with to some degree.   A popular mathematics website, (nrichmaths), suggest that there are five different ways in which the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) can be used in the classroom;

• Teacher as the demonstrator.  For example, the teacher alone interacts with the whiteboard and teaches a mathematical concept, such as how to add 3 digit numbers.
• Teacher as modeller.  A teacher may use a blank page to model how pupils are to set out their work.  For example, if practising writing three digit numbers, the teacher may show how to draw up a table with a Hundreds, Tens and Units column and do some examples with the pupils.
• Teacher in control.  The teacher is ultimately still the primary user of the IWB, but they invite the pupils to participate.  For example, pupils may come up to the front and write in the correct answer to a calculation, or match up the correct numerical and written numbers.
• Pupils in control with the teacher advising.  For this, the teacher may have a more investigative mathematical problem that they would like the pupils to work through on their own through peer work.  The teacher is always on hand to probe and to guide, but it puts much more focus on pupils controlling their own learning.
• Pupils working independently.  Some classrooms are fortunate enough to have access to computers for each child, or even enough tablets to share out in the classroom.  For this, the teacher may allow the pupils to work completely independently on tasks pre-set on the interactive tools.

These points highlight clearly that the IWB is not just a teaching tool for the practitioner, it can be equally as beneficial when learning is pupil led and the pupils themselves are able to interact on a personal level with the available resources.

A classroom factor that is important to all practitioners, whatever stage they may be at within their practice, is ease of transitioning and keeping lessons fast paced, to avoid students getting bored and distracted. In light of this, IWBs can speed up the pace of a lesson when applied correctly. For example, when looking at the area of a square, it is indefinitely quicker to block out sections of colour, than it would be to demonstrate this on paper – allowing the lesson to flow quickly and efficiently.

For a whole host of interactive resources right at your finger tip (or the click of a mouse!), head here

Haylock and Cockburn (2003) suggest that children learn greatly when they are engaged in mathematical activity, which incorporates “manipulating some, or all, of the following: concrete materials, symbols, language and pictures’. Combining these manipulators together has led to interactive mathematics games becoming a vastly popular learning tool. Interactive games have become a popular teaching tool for many practitioners, allowing children to engage on auditory, visual and kinaesthetic levels with mathematical problem solving.

A popular resource seen in use within schools is Interactive Resources Online. This site is available for schools to sign up to and provides pupils with ‘engaging, interactive, easy-to-use and, above all, fun activities which enhance the teaching and understanding of mathematics’. In the setting being described, the school works on a three form entry and pupils are streamed and taught in ability groups for mathematics. In light of this, one of the most positive attributes to this resource is pupils being able to access resources that have been specifically set for their ability group.

For some more handy hints and tips of interactive online resources available, have a look at the selection beneath covering a wide range of mathematics across both KS1 and KS2.

Education city
Education city offers a wide range of fun e-learning resources. Online games and activities are fun for pupils to engage with whilst the interactive whiteboard resources are ideal for teachers to use in the classroom.

My Maths
Whilst My Maths is a subscription website, they provide access to ready-made lessons and online homework tasks.  This selections of lessons, homework, games and tools entertain and challenge pupils, while staying focused on the maths.

Top marks
Covering both KS1 and KS2, even subdividing into year groups for ease of finding relevant topics, this site offers a large variety of interactive maths based games. Good for either whole class participation as a starter or plenary activity, it is limited to its use during a lesson due to the nature of being solely online. However, the activities are ideal for some extra time spent on a topic and would work well for pupils to engage with from home.

Snappy maths
Snappy maths is brilliant for providing ready made worksheets as well as online activities.  Easily accessible, it is simple to find the resources you will need.

A plus Math
Similar to snappy maths, this site offers teachers worksheets to create themselves! Use the base as a template and then create your own sheets, perfect for differentiating work across the pupils.

Maths Zone
Another online maths resource site covering both KS1 and KS2 making maths fun with interactive resources for schools and for use as homework.

Jump Maths

This is a link to an interesting blog post on an alternative strategy used for teaching mathematics: Jump Maths, a mathematical programme created by John Mighton.

Mighton emphasises the importance of breaking down mathematical ideas/concepts/calculations into lots of tiny steps and to monitor how the children find each step before moving them on. He further adds that “maths is like a ladder. If you miss a step, sometimes you can not go on.” In addition, misconceptions and misunderstandings would be easier to identify. Bornstein (2011) is of the opinion that given children time to discover and find things out for themselves is only effective if they understand the basics. Mighton refers to ‘Jump’ as guided discovery because breaking down the idea/concept/calculation into lots of steps enables children to discover things for themselves.

As well as online interactive resources for pupils, there are increasing numbers of ways for teachers to gain wisdom and ideas from other primary educators up and down the country.  As you can see from this task, blogging is quickly becoming a common way for teachers to share ideas, communicate with fellow practitioners and (occasionally) vent!  Listed here are the Top 100 educational blogs (April 2014).  Whilst not an exhaustive list of all blogs available, it is a good place to start to get involved with fellow blogging teachers!  Alongside this list, we would like to put forward the blogs of the Primary Head and Michael Tidd as well written informative and often entertaining blogs of current primary teachers.

The Primary Head and Michael Tidd can also be found on Twitter, another increasingly popular social media site for primary educators to communicate and share thoughts.  Teacher networks schedule twitter debate times using a variety of hashtags to communicate between each other across the country – another quick and easy way to keep up to date with current changes in the National Curriculum too!

“A high quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject”.

We hope the research into the use of the resources and the ideas we have given in terms of using resources and establishing a creative mathematics environment will help readers teach this high quality education described above.


Back, J., (2005) Creative Approaches to Mathematics Across the Curriculum. [online] Available at: http://nrich.maths.org/4770 [Accessed 15 November 2014].

Bornstein, D., (2011) A Better Way to Teach Maths. [online] Available at: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/a-better-way-to-teach-math/?_r=1 [Accessed 13 November 2014].

Briggs, M. and Davies, S., (2008) Creative Teaching  – mathematics –  In the Early Years & Primary Classroom. Oxon: Routledge.

Bromley, H., (2005) 50 Exciting Ideas for Developing Maths Through Stories. Birmingham:  Lawrence Educational Publications.

Clissold, C., Low, E., Moseley, C. and Wright, D., (2011) ‘Maths to Share – CPD for your school’, Primary Magazine, no. 139, pp. 1-18.

Dabell, J., (2008) Outdoor maths: An interesting angle. [online] Available at: http://education.scholastic.co.uk/content/3770 [Accessed 12 November 2014].

Dabell, J. , (2008) Outdoor maths: Symmetry alfresco. [online] Available at: http://education.scholastic.co.uk/content/4085 [Accessed 12 November 2014].

Department for Education and Skills (DfES)., (2003) Excellence and Enjoyment – A strategy for Primary Schools. Nottingham: DfES Publications.

Department for Education and Skills (DfES)., (2006a) Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto. [online] Available at: http://www.lotc.org.uk/getmedia/42c7c3e7-7455-43cc-a513-d6aef9654846/1.0-Learning-Outside-the-Classroom-manifesto.aspx [Accessed 13 November 2014].

Department for Education (DfE)., (2013) National curriculum in England: mathematics programmes of study. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-mathematics-programmes-of-study [Accessed 15 November 2014].

Eastaway, R., (2012) How to inject creativity into your maths lessons. [online]. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2012/jan/03/creativity-maths-lessons [Accessed 13 November 2014].

Egan, K., (1988) Teaching as storytelling. London: Routledge.

Hansen, A., (2007) Do resources matter in primary mathematics teaching and learning? In: Drews,D. and Hansen, A., ed. 2007. Using Resources to Support Mathematical Thinking, Primary and Early Years.  Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Ch 2.

Haylock, D. and Cockburn, A., (2003) Understanding mathematics in the lower primary years. A guide for teachers of children 3–8. London: Paul Chapman.

Hong, H., (1996) Effects of Mathematics learning Through Children’s literature on Math Achievement and Dispositional Outcomes’, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, (11), p. 477-494.

Hopkins, M. and Weiss, K., (2008) Tales with a Twist Maths-Based Fairy Tales 7-9 years. Devon: Southgate Publishers Ltd.

Louv, R., (2006) Last Child in the Woods. New York: Algonquin Books.

Numberline Lane., (2004) Using Stories to Teach Mathematics. [online]. Available at: http://www.numberlinelane.co.uk/article_001 [Accessed 13 November 2014].

Ofsted., (2011) Good practice in primary mathematics: evidence from 20 successful schools, Reference no: 110140, pp. 1-35

Pound, L and Trisha, L., (2011) Teaching Mathematics Creatively, Oxon: Routledge.

Knight, P., Pennant, J., & Piggott, J. (What does it mean to “use the interactive whiteboard” in the daily numeracy lesson? [online]. Available at: http://nrich.maths.org/5782/index?nomenu=1 [Accessed 15 November 2014].


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Top 30 Math Activities to Explain «All About Me»

Too often, people think of math as a “cold” lesson, where there isn’t a lot of room for self-expression. But that’s just not the case! Math can be a brilliant way to explain who we are, what we like, and our hopes and dreams for the future. We’ve collected thirty of the best math activities to help your students unleash their creative potential and really explain themselves using numbers. These are great options for the first week of school, or for whenever you need to incorporate a bit of expressive creativity into your math tasks. 

1. “All About Me” in Numbers

This activity is great for kids who are just starting to learn numbers. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of measurement, and how different numbers represent different physical characteristics in the real world. It’s also perfect for review on the first day of school after a long school break. 

Learn more: JDaniel4’s Mom

2. “Math About Me” for Middle School Students

This worksheet is geared toward middle school students and teachers who want to get to know each other better. It goes through some physical attributes as well as hobbies and other interests; making it one of the great first weeks of school activities for middle school. 

Learn more: Twinkl

3. My Life in Percentages

With this activity that focuses on fractions and percentages, students can share about their hobbies and how they spend their time. It’s a fun way to get to know who your students are outside of the classroom, and a great way to review percentages and decimals at the beginning of the school year.

Learn more: Math Goodies

4. Autobiographical Formulas: “Figure Me Out”

You can take the all about me math to the next level when you have students create their own formulas to describe themselves. Rather than just counting and writing numbers, have students formulate math problems to represent these values. Then, have kids swap papers and solve the equations to learn more about their classmates! 

Learn more: Jennifer Orgill

5. Craft Project

With this engaging craft activity, students can use math and number literacy to create a masterpiece. It combines elements of color-by-number and level-appropriate arithmetic to help students explore math and themselves as they make a lovely art project. 

Learn more: Create Abilities

6. Math in My Life Worksheet

This worksheet targets multiplication skills, so it’s perfect as a math review and a get-to-know-you activity during the first weeks of school. Students will learn more about their teacher and classmate, plus they’ll be able to show and revise their multiplication skills in the process. 

Learn more: Multiplication.com

7. Math Class “Truth or Dare”

This is one of those middle school resources that draws directly on everyone’s favorite sleepover game. Of course, all of the prompts are appropriate and serve as a guide for students who might otherwise not want to jump into math. It’s also perfect for getting to know one another and building rapport at the beginning of the school year. 

Learn more: Cognitive Cardio Math

8. Measuring with Blocks Worksheet

This is a fun math resource for young kids who are learning to count. Using one-inch blocks, help students measure the different distances and record the numbers on the paper. Then, use the body measurement activity to practice comparing lengths.

Learn more: Lesson Plans

9. Give Me a Minute 

With this worksheet, students have to predict how many times they’d be able to complete something in one minute. Then, for some extra classroom fun, students get to test their predictions! This is a perfect way to learn about real-time student data while also getting kids up and moving in the middle of the school day.

Learn more: Twinkl

10. “Footloose” Game 

Students follow a series of instructions and questions that guide them through a build-your-own adventure game. The game is differentiated so that the teacher can understand the student’s level based on their outcome. This middle school bundle is a great way to start off the new year or semester in your math class! 

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

11. Me, By the Numbers

This elementary school math craft combines level-appropriate math skills with a creative twist. By the end of the lesson, students will each have a lovely display of who they are and their strengths in math. The main piece is a printable template, and students use coded colors to fill in the spaces. They also fill in the blanks with “their” numbers as they go along.

Learn more: Math Coach’s Corner

12. Explaining Me with Math: Measuring Together

This activity relies on non-standard measurement to help kids practice counting and contextualizing ideas of numbers and length. It’s a perfect introduction for young learners, and it’s fun to see all of the different ways kids come up with for measuring. 

Learn more: Mrs. Sol’s Class

13. Writing Formulas with Math About Me

This middle school activity packet takes “all about me” math to the next level because it has kids writing their own formulas and equations to describe themselves. It’s perfect for reviewing the order of operations and pre-algebra concepts at the beginning of the school year. 

Learn more: 4mula Fun

14. First Day of School Introduction with Numbers

In the first few weeks of school, it can take some time to get to know your students. But with a one-page coloring activity that allows you to see your students at a glance, you’ll be building rapport in no time. This is a worksheet that kids can complete and then use to introduce themselves to their classmates. 

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

15. Numbers About Me Poster

This is a great option for elementary or middle school activities or bulletin boards. It’s a poster that each child can decorate and you can hang it in the classroom for the first couple weeks of school. This way, each student can feel truly represented: not only by the numbers but also by their own handiwork! 

Learn more: Amazon

16. Differentiated Math About Me Worksheet

This worksheet offers several different levels so that you can use it in the differentiated classroom. You can give different versions of the worksheet to different students, based on their performance and level of mastery up to that point. Plus, you can offer the more difficult version at the end of the semester to measure growth. 

Learn more: Math Geek Mama

17. Preschool STEAM Challenge

Here is a series of STEAM challenges that are aimed at helping preschoolers explore themselves and the very basics of math and engineering. They’re all hands-on projects, which is great for stations and small group activities. 

Learn more: Preschool STEAM

18. Grit and Grow Mindset Math Challenge

This bundle includes school activities that combine math, getting-to-know-you activities, and social and emotional training. This worksheet and the accompanying activities challenge kids to look at their own mindset when it comes to math class; the main idea is to bring the growth mindset into the math classroom.

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

19. Make Your Own Math About Me Banner

You can use this printable banner template and let your kids get creative in math class. It’s a great resource that teachers can use to decorate the classroom, too. Plus, it’s motivating for kids to see their work displayed in the classroom. 

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

20. Math Discussion Cards

These discussion cards will get kids talking about math. You can make the questions easier or more difficult, based on the level of your students. It’s important for kids to be able to verbalize what they’re learning and understanding, and these cards help prompt those discussions! 

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

21. Picture Books for the Math Classroom

Here is a great list of picture books that will get young learners interested in and excited about math class. The illustrations are engaging, and they will prompt conversation among the students; ultimately providing insight into who they are. 

Learn more: Think, Grow, Giggle

22. Math Class “Scavenger Hunt in Your Seat”

Play this classic matching game individually or in pairs. The mini-response task cards are a perfect way to catch high schoolers’ attention and get them motivated to learn more math! Students take a small deck of cards and complete the math problems there. Then, based on their answers, they should identify corresponding items in the classroom or wherever they are.  

Learn more: Robin Cornecki

23. “Meet the Mathematicians” Worksheet

Kids are more motivated to learn about math when they view themselves as “mathematicians,” so this activity will help them set goals and stay motivated to meet those aims. This template puts the student in the role of mathematician, and they fill in the blanks with their own personal info. 

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

24. “My Life in Numbers” for Young Learners

This is a whole-class “my life in numbers” activity, but it is specifically designed for preschool kids who are just learning to count. It’s perfect for doing at home with your child before you send them off to school, too. The activity involves following the prompts that ask “how many” questions. Then, find the specified item, and start counting away!

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

25. Number Hunt in Jelly

This activity can get a bit messy, but it’s a perfect way to build up number recognition and fine motor skills for young learners. All you need are some plastic numbers and some jello, and you have an amazing task that will get kids excited to learn more about math!

Learn more: Hazeldene Family Centre

26. Back to School Math Activities for 4th and 5th Graders

With this bundle of excellent activities, you’ll be able to help your 4th and 5th-grade students remember what they learned before the Summer break. Plus, you’ll be able to learn new things about your students’ preferences and experiences, too. 

Learn more: Teaching with Jennifer Findley

27. “All About Me” Book

Now that you’ve done a bunch of different “all about me” math activities with your students, it’s time to bring all of them together in just one book! This book is something that kids can take home to share with their families and learn more about their classmates. 

Learn more: Differentiated Teaching

28. 2nd Grade Guided Math Homework Book

This is the first step to being a sane teacher: having all of the guided homework ready to go at the beginning of the school year! This is a pretty comprehensive packet that takes 2nd-grade students through all of the major math points throughout the school year, all while encouraging them to reflect on who they are and understand their strengths and weaknesses.  

Learn more: Marcy Bernethy Saddle Up for 2nd Grade

29. Body Parts Counting Activity

This activity is aimed at preschool students who are learning about their bodies and learning to count at the same time. The dots on the printout are the counting tool, and the body parts all line up when the counting is done correctly! 

Learn more: Kids Soup

30. Learning About Ourselves with Centimeters

This is an introduction to the metric system and measuring lengths. Using a measuring tape or 1 cm blocks, you’ll measure different body parts and objects, simply by following the prompts on the worksheet. Have fun while learning about measuring and each other! 

Learn more: NZ Maths

Olympiad mathematics course for 1st grade

for 1st grade

We develop logic, intelligence and creativity

9900 ₽

/ the whole course

Sign up for the course


Year round

Recruitment in progress


28 lessons


• 2 certificates
• 4 levels of difficulty
• hundreds of interesting tasks
• practical tasks
• teacher check
• video with analysis of tasks


All year round

Enrollment in progress


28 lessons


• 2 certificates
• 4 levels of difficulty
• hundreds of interesting tasks
• practical tasks
• checking by the teacher
• video with analysis of tasks

What the course gives

‘s interest in mathematics

From the very beginning of the study, we instill love and show that mathematics is not boring, but interesting. We ignite even the humanities with mathematics.

Overcoming fear
before mathematics

We remove the fear of complex problems. The child understands that he is able to solve even things that did not take place in the classroom.

The skill of solving
non-standard problems

Thinking about «open» and «unsolvable» problems develops logic and imagination.

Less time
for homework

We teach to think. The child becomes more confident in his abilities and copes with tasks faster.

Opportunity to enroll
to a stronger school

The ability to solve Olympiad and non-standard problems is valued when entering strong schools and universities.

Interesting problems

Interesting explanation

Interest in sports

I can do it

Interest in mathematics in your child

they are easier than students who have been crammed at the university but still outperform their professors. Worst of all solve these simple problems are Nobel and philosophical laureates. 0003

Vladimir Arnold

Academician, in the preface to his collection of Olympiad problems

How the classes are held


You receive a task

Each lesson consists of a video with theory and a task. On average, we give 10 tasks for each lesson


Solve problems

We give a week to solve the task — you can solve it at your own pace, faster or slower, as you like.


Submit your solution for review

You send us the solutions, and the teacher checks. He says what is wrong, and if necessary, prompts.


Watch the video with analysis

On the day of the test, you will see a video with detailed solutions to all tasks from the task, as well as text analysis.


Bonus tasks

There are additional tasks for each lesson. You solve them at will on your own — the teacher does not check these problems.


Graduation Olympiad and certificates

There are 16 lessons in total. In the middle and at the end of the course, two final works await you. For the decision of each issued a certificate of completion of the course.

You receive an assignment

Each lesson consists of a theory video and an assignment. On average, we give 10 tasks for each lesson

Solve problems

We give a week to solve the task — you can solve it at your own pace, faster or slower, as you like.

Submit the solution for review

You send us the solution, and the teacher checks it. He says what is wrong, and if necessary, prompts.

Watch the video with analysis

On the day of the test, you will see a video with detailed solutions to all tasks from the task, as well as text analysis.

Bonus tasks

There are additional tasks for each lesson. You solve them at will on your own — the teacher does not check these problems.

Graduation Olympiad and certificates

There are 16 lessons in total. In the middle and at the end of the course, two final works await you. For the decision of each issued a certificate of completion of the course.

A few tips from Mikhail Ovchinnikov, lecturer and founder of Systematics, for those who are thinking about joining the course.

Program for Grade 1

We analyze all the main topics of the Olympiad mathematics. The child will learn to solve all kinds of problems in his age group.









28 classes

Teachers for the 1st grade

We have graduates and senior students of the Mekhmat of Moscow State University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology . The course is taught only by the organizers, prize-winners and winners of mathematical Olympiads.

Dmitry Ivanyuk

Education Candidate of Technical Sciences, teacher of additional education

Teaching places Conducts classes in mathematics and algorithms for grades 5-7, 3D modeling (certified teacher in Compass-3D), technical creativity

Ovchinnikov Mikhail Vladimirovich

Education Graduate of the Mekhmat of Moscow State University

Teaching places

90 002 Founder and leader project «Systematics»
Teacher of mathematics in visiting camps and mathematical circles

Oksana Znamenskaya

Education Graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of St. Petersburg State University and the Institute of Special Psychology and Pedagogy

Places of teaching

Lecturer in the Fractal Mathematics Olympiad network in St. Petersburg
Works at summer mathematical camps

Georgy Makarov

Education Undergraduate student of Moscow State University (Department of Physics)

90 002 Places of teaching Club teacher in Zelenograd

Cost course

You can always change the difficulty level,
and also switch from the course option «without verification» to the option «with verification»

Half a year without verification

3500 ₽

8 lessons
Supervision by a tutor

Certificate at the end of the course
Final work


9000 2 Half-year with verification

5500 ₽

8 lessons
Supervision by the curator
Checking assignments by the teacher
Certificate at the end of the course
Final work


Annual course without examination

4900 ₽

16 lessons
Supervision by a curator

Certificate at the end of the course
Final work


Annual course with verification

9900 ₽

16 lessons
Maintenance curator
Checking assignments by the teacher
Certificate at the end of the course
Final work


1800 people

Completed the course

350 people

Are currently studying

More than 200 reviews read reviews →

Sign up for the course

Immediately after payment, the course materials will be available to you now

read reviews →

More than 200 reviews read reviews →

We issue a certificate

Each student receives a personalized certificate at the end of the course. A certificate of completion of the online course will be available via a link on our website, and it will also be possible to print it yourself.

Students about us

Click on the name to view the courses completed by the student


about the circle of Olympiad mathematics

about the circle of Olympiad mathematics

about the circle of Olympiad mathematics, about the intensive TRIZ History of Civilizations

about the Olympiad mathematics circle

about the Chess course

about the circle of Olympiad Mathematics

Maxim Masaltsev

about the circle of Olympiad Mathematics

Konovalova Irina

The impression is very positive, a lot of different topics is a big plus. Since a lot of types of problems are analyzed, the skill of solving them expands.

about the Olympiad Mathematics course

In general, I am satisfied. The assignments were interesting. I really liked the fact that you can write an Olympiad online (it is not necessary to go to Moscow, St. Petersburg or Zelenograd if you live elsewhere). I am also pleased with the prizes — discounts for field camps.

about the Mathematics Olympiad

We are very satisfied with the course. The main thing that learned self-confidence is for a child . He told his son about the mathematical school in Russia, famous mathematicians. The son is very proud of the fact that he solves problems of an advanced level. It gives motivation in school. He writes that mathematics is his favorite subject. In mathematics, he is in the most advanced group in the class. Online classes give tremendous confidence in the classroom! We spent more time together.

about the course Two tasks for the week

It was very interesting — we talked, discussed, argued. We hope to continue.

about the Olympiad Mathematics course

For the first time we signed up for the summer online training, we would like to prepare better for solving Olympiad problems and gain new knowledge. The child listens to the video lesson and solves the tasks for the lesson. He does everything himself, if something doesn’t work out, I can “decide” with him just to increase interest. We listen to the analysis of the lesson together for the company, checks that we decided correctly. While in the learning process, he likes everything. By the end of September, we’ll see what the result will be. Thanks for the course.

about the Olympiad Mathematics course

Artyom Krainov

Russia, Saratov region

4 years 4 months

Wanted I would like to thank the whole team for this course! The child and I liked it very much. There is not much time, so we worked like this: I printed out assignments by the weekend, got acquainted with the theory, and solved it together on Sundays. Not everything worked out. Without video analysis, probably, we would not have completed the entire course. The video was very motivating! On the final control at school there was a task with an asterisk (for logic, not for a mandatory solution), the son coped. He was happy, he solved a similar problem on the course. Thanks a lot! And we move with the team to the third grade !!!

about the Olympiad Mathematics course

Bykova Kseniya

Russia, Moscow

3 years 10 months

90 428 We like both the format and the timeliness of the review. Attention to detail when checking assignments, detailed analysis.

about the Olympiad Mathematics course

I really liked studying at a distance, Olympiad tasks, specifically for logic. We want to improve our knowledge of combinatorics and there are very few places where you can learn how to solve problems with a chessboard.

about the Olympiad Mathematics Course

Answering Frequently Asked Questions

Other Classes in Systematics

November 7–18

900 02 TRIZ-intensive «Harry Potter. Go to Hogwarts»

November 07 — 18 November

Developing thinking and imagination

Grade 3-6

Activating the ability
to solve problems and
create value

Entrepreneurial thinking

Activate the ability to solve problems and create value

Grades 3–5

We will study and create
architecture of different countries
and times

Architecture and design

Creative thinking. Drawing. Prototyping. Graphic arts. Paper plastics. Design. Architecture

3rd–7th grade

Recorded course

Two tasks per week

Video with theory, practical tasks, teacher check, video with analysis of tasks

from 9 to 99 years old

November 7–18

TRIZ -intensive «Harry Potter. Go to Hogwarts»

TRIZ-intensive «Harry Potter. Go to Hogwarts»

Developing thinking and imagination

Grades 3–6

Activation of the ability
to solve problems and
create value

Entrepreneurial thinking

90 002 Entrepreneurial thinking

Activation of the ability to solve problems and create value

Grades 3–5

We will study and create
architecture of different countries
and times

Architecture and design

Architecture and design

Creative thinking. Drawing. Prototyping. Graphic arts. Paper plastics. Design. Architecture

Grades 3–7

Recorded course

Two tasks for a week

Two tasks for a week

Video with theory, practical tasks, checking by the teacher, video with analysis of tasks

from 9 to 99 years 90 003

Show all

Other classes for grade 1

June 20 — 30

TRIZ — intensive «History of Civilizations»

June 20 — 30

Module 9. History of Ancient Rus’
Development of thinking using TRIZ tools based on stories from the history of civilizations

4 lessons

Course on the development of thinking
for those who who likes to think and enjoys history.

History of Civilizations

Course on the development of thinking using TRIZ tools. For those who like to think and are fond of history.

Grades 2–5

March 27 — April 1

TRIZ-intensive «History of Ancient Rome»

March 27 — April 1

Development of thinking using TRIZ tools based on stories from the history of civilizations

Grades 3–6

November 14-26

TRIZ-intensive «History of Ancient India» »

November 14 — 26

History of Ancient India
Development of thinking using TRIZ tools based on plots from the history of civilizations

Grades 3-6

TRIZ — Intensive «History of Civilizations»

Module 9. History of Ancient Rus’
Development of thinking using TRIZ tools based on plots from the history of civilizations

4 lessons

Course on the development of thinking
for those who like to think and are fond of history.

History of Civilizations

History of Civilizations

Course on the development of thinking using TRIZ tools. For those who like to think and are fond of history.

Grades 2–5

March 27 — April 1

TRIZ-intensive «History of Ancient Rome»

TRIZ-intensive «History of Ancient Rome»

Development of thinking using TRIZ tools based on plots from the history of civilizations

Grades 3–6

November 14-26

TRIZ-intensive » History of Ancient India»

TRIZ-intensive «History of Ancient India»

History of Ancient India
Development of thinking using TRIZ tools based on plots from the history of civilizations

Grades 3–6

Show all

The problem of teaching mathematics in a modern school

Mathematics is an important subject, which surpasses most others in the number of hours at school. At the same time, this discipline is given to children extremely hard, and most of them are completely set only to pass the exam at least for the minimum passing score. Of course, higher education institutions require successful results in the math exam for admission, but most students and even teachers are not happy with schooling. In the first place should be the quality of knowledge and the ability to apply it in practice. There are certain problems in the system of teaching and learning mathematics at school, which will be discussed today.

Limited amount of time

The main problem of modern mathematics teaching at school is precisely the lack of time. The lesson lasts only 40 minutes, during which time the teacher needs to explain the topic, set the task for the students and help them find a solution. Since time is limited, the teacher has to independently bring students to a certain conclusion, depriving them of the opportunity to do it on their own and acquire practical skills. For the same reason, a certain contradiction arises between the development of mathematical science and its teaching. Mathematics is developing rapidly, there are new materials that need to be taught to children, while teaching is improving very slowly, especially when it comes to school lessons. The matter is complicated by the fact that the teacher is faced with the task of teaching a large number of children in just 40 minutes. Some people need very little time to understand the topic, while others need a little more to reach the solution of the problem on their own.

Inclusive education

Modern education is built in such a way that a variety of children can study in general education institutions: with various physical disabilities, mental health problems, disabilities, children from dysfunctional families, etc. All of them deserve to receive a proper education, so teachers need to find an approach to each and present the material so that every student can learn it. Often the teacher needs to carry out training in several programs at the same time, which creates certain difficulties. It will not work to let the situation take its course, since students will not be able to study and assimilate the educational material on their own.

Inconsistency of the program with the certification requirements

The main goal of modern schools is to prepare schoolchildren for the successful passing of the OGE and the Unified State Examination, so that in the future they can enter secondary vocational and higher educational institutions. Accordingly, the school curriculum is not aimed at solving practical problems, and there are quite a few methodological materials for teachers. These tasks need to be solved, since they are directly related to real situations in human life. As a result, teachers have to independently prepare tasks and try to find time for them in the hours allotted for their subject, or to do this with the help of extracurricular activities.

A large amount of information

Mathematics is a subject with many sections and topics that students need to have time to teach. At the same time, an important task is not just to explain the topic, but also to check the assimilation of the material covered. In the final grades, the task becomes more complicated, since students need not only to learn new material, but also to repeat the topics studied over the past few years, which is often extremely difficult to implement.


Every school has a curriculum that every teacher must follow. For example, 3 lessons are allotted for one topic, during which the teacher must introduce children to new material, solve a large number of problems with them, learn theorems, etc. But these three lessons may not be enough for everyone to learn the material, but the teacher cannot devote more time to this topic, since there is a curriculum. Accordingly, the program will remain unlearned by the student. Mathematics is a science where each topic follows from the previous one. And if a student has not mastered some material, he simply cannot understand the following topics.


Modern teaching of mathematics is arranged in such a way that new topics are explained to children, rules and ready-made templates are provided for solving various problems. Accordingly, the student, seeing the task before him, will not independently think and look for solutions, applying the acquired knowledge in practice, but will only remember the template by which such an example has already been solved. This problem is especially true for the graduating classes, where during the school year, students are only taught to solve template problems according to already worked out schemes. In principle, final exams interfere with the correct assimilation and understanding of mathematics, since all that future students are tuned to is passing exams. And after all, they are convinced that they will not need this subject further, forgetting that all life processes are reflected in this particular science.


The problem of modern education is that mathematics is taught to children the way it is written in textbooks. But after all, they were written by professionals, and teachers are also specialists, but children are not. Accordingly, the problem of current teaching is that teachers often cannot simply and clearly convey the material to students. For example, children often ask a similar question: “How will fractions help us in life?”. Of course, it is often the successful passing of final exams that is often cited as an example, but this is not the point.

By alexxlab

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