A few years ago, I started doing some informal primary transition work by using the most exciting tool in the educational toolbox – Maths!

All we do is have some fun building cubes out of jelly babies and spaghetti. It is as simple as that.

But then, scratch the surface and all hell breaks lose.

In that short hour, we are covering at least three numeracy outcomes, at least one Maths outcome and at least one literacy outcome. The depth covered is commensurable to the amount of time we spend together. It is a taster of the learning to follow, we are not trying to cover the course in a week, after all!

This is the time of year to plan it and with tesco value spaghetti (24p) and Lidl Jelly babies (59p) I have managed to supply about 5 classes with resources for less than £5 (but a funny look from the girl at Lidl)

I am sharing this so that you could consider either doing the same or sharing your own ideas. A small fun lesson like this eases kids in to high school, build relations with our primary colleagues and cuts through so many areas (one historian added a lesson on the originals of peace sweets that we now call jelly babies).

Please share your ideas too, the simple ones are the best and sharing via pedagoo you will not only clock up more CPD time but also potentially make ALL the difference for a child starting high school.

Lesson outline and ideas for links with CfE are here

Janet AbercrombieI did a similar activity with toothpicks and clay. A fun science extension is to dip the 3D shapes into soapy water to see what happens (after hypothesizing, of course :).

Janet | expateducator.com

eddiewhitePost authorThanks for the comment. Your version also sounds interesting and one where maths and science could work together. Fancy writin up a blog post for pedagoo on it please? Pretty please?

Martyn CallHey Eddie,

We also do something similar. We ask pupils to create 2D (and moving into 3D) shapes using toothpics and marshmallows. It’s a great way for a teacher to see who has the knowledge of different shapes and the language. Lots of fun.

this year we’re thinking of doing a ‘clock counting’ exercise with different sizes of clock. (for example, 3 + 5 = 4 if you count on a clock of 4). It’ll be interesting.

eddiewhitePost authorHi Martin,

Like the idea of of working mod 4 with a real visual tool. Would like to see them argue if the answer should be 4 or zero though? Guess that depends on whether it is a Minute hand or an hour hand maybe?

Martyn CallAh, we usually have one or two kids which ask that. The general consensus is that counting on a clock you don’t go “11, 0, 1” but “11, 12, 1” so pupils like to go “3, 4, 1”. Last year I had one boy who wanted to use zero, and that was fine. He knew that when we said 4 it was 0 on his sheet. Now that’s some ‘advanced’ maths n_n

eddiewhitePost authorIt is one of the best things about Maths, so many ways the lessons can go – most of it you don’t predict. Do the kids ever bring in 24 hour clock (or 8hour clock?)

I did the lesson with three classes yesterday and I read the class blog for two of the classes. What the kids took away (bar the obvious points about vertex etc) differed fir each class. I was fascinated by that.

It was also nice to have half the primary school calling me by name when I went in for a meeting today (but less good when their siblings demanded jellybabies in my class today)

john sexton“But then, scratch the surface and all hell breaks loose.”

The sign of a great lesson. When the kids start questioning and experimenting and if there is a courageous teacher present begin to go off at tangents.

eddiewhitePost authorThanks John. Never really see it as courageous, just feel that I am compitant enough to not worry about leading learning instead of dictating it.

Imagine my surprise when a Primary Five class asked me to explain Octagonal Numbers to them!!!! I think 2014 will be a good vintage for S1 at my school!