Grounds for Learning Maths Activities, devised, tried and tested by Anne Patterson, Head teacher, Inveraray Primary School, Argyll & Bute
This is a fun and active way to deliver mental arithmetic outdoors. The ‘shark’ theme would fit well with a class visit to the seashore. The ‘shark’ teacher in this game tests the ‘plankton’ – the children. This game supports multiplication and times-tables work, and in this example illustrates the 2 times table. You will need large outdoor chalk and a large hard surface area.
Did you know?
Parts of the west coast of Scotland include ‘hotspots’ for spotting basking shark. It’s the second biggest fish in the world! (The biggest is the tropical whale shark). It is the largest wild animal to regularly visit the UK, and can weigh up to 7 tonnes. The biggest basking shark ever was 13.72m long. This is longer than a bus! But don’t worry, the prey of the basking shark is tiny – millions of tiny shrimp or plankton, which it filters out of the sea water with its huge mouth.
The basking shark is now a protected species within Scottish inshore waters, and has recently received international protection.
Before the activity
It is important that before starting any game the teacher reinforces the purpose and aim of the game, and any rules of the game. At the end of the game/session you may wish to ask them what they have learnt so far, as a means of peer assessment and/or evaluation. You will probably reflect yourself on ways to improve the logistics of the game’s delivery, or how to improve the effectiveness of the game.
Using the fat chalk, randomly distribute the numbers between 2 to 24 (for the 2X table), within an area of playground (around 15m x 15m). You need enough numbers for (x-1) in your class. You can have more than one of the same number. Write the numbers large (20 -30cm) and draw a circle around each number.
While these numbers are being drawn, the children can be occupied by, for example, being asked to run and touch a tree, find something pink/red/green etc. Or fitting with the theme of the activity, ask them to find objects in the playground that fit the ‘story of two’ e.g. four leafed clover, eight berries on a twig, pebbles with 2 edges etc.
The children are grouped together on one side of the area (the shore/ocean) and the purpose and rules of the game reinforced. No one is allowed to move until the teacher (the shark) calls out the calculation, for example “2 times 7”. The first child to locate, run to and stand on the correct number’ island’ gets to stay there. The rest leave the ‘ocean’ for the next calculation. So it goes on until only one child is left without an island. They may be chased and tagged by the shark and/or choose to be the shark next (with some help from the teacher). If they chose not to, you can consider giving them a head start in the water for the first calculation of the next round.
Research number facts and patterns in the animal world. For example:
Insects (e.g. wasp) - have three body parts, and 3 pairs of jointed legs
Spiders - have two body parts and 4 pairs of jointed legs
Crustaceans (e.g. crab, woodlouse) - have a segmented body, a hard shell and less than 15 pairs of jointed legs
Myriapods (e.g. centipede) - have a segmented body and more than 15 pairs of jointed legs.
Look at plant patterns - numbers of petals/leaves/leaflets on different plants etc. use these facts to illustrate a display on natural times tables.
The Sea eagle is very special bird of prey that has been re-introduced to Scottish coastal sites. See Sea eagles jigsaw game in Fun 4 Kids in SNH website publication section
For further information on basking shark and marine conservation, see the kids pages of the Marine Conservation Society
Boats, barnacles and basking sharks - The pack provide teachers notes, a range of activity sheets and worksheets
A series of 6 Marine Environmental Education packs comprising: Orkney and Shetland, The Minch, The Solway Firth, The Moray Firth, Fife Ness to Fraserburgh and The Firth of Forth. Revised 5-14 curriculum guidelines. The aim of these teachers packs is to help teachers by providing a framework for fitting marine studies into the 5 – 14 curriculum guidelines, and to encourage young people to understand and appreciate our marine and coastal heritage FREE download