This activity is a mental maths exercise built around a story. My first attempt used the familiar story of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Mental problems are placed into the story at regular intervals. The level of difficulty and range of objectives can be adjusted to fit the stage of learning the pupils are at.
Download the resource:
I began this work with a re-telling of the story so that children got some picture of what was happening. It followed for me from work in previous years when I would often ask a question during the story to check on concentration. The idea of using more questions and maths problems was a natural follow-on for me.
What I did:
I planned a list of mathematics objectives that I wanted to address and wove these as problems into the text of my story. Sometimes I wanted to address just one objective so all my questions would be based around that.
Children would complete a answers template which would also retain numbers and key words for each problem. I found the activity enjoyable for all of us and it took away all those fears that some children have around mental arithmetic work.
Data gathered about areas of weakness was used to plan intervention work for whole class, groups or individuals. The idea can be extended to more stories [new or familiar].