This is an investigation activity which uses small number castles, where pupils add 2 adjacent cells to find the number in the cell above. It is easily accessible, promotes pairs / small group work and can be extended to engage further thinking, talk and generalising.
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This has worked well, engaging pupils in mainstream SEN and MLD settings. Ideally pupils need black castle templates so time is concentrated on the mathematics rather than drawing the castles.
What I did:
Pupils were given 3 numbers to explore first. Working in pairs, they worked out the HIGHEST and LOWEST castle. They then used their own 3 numbers to find the HIGHEST and LOWEST castle.
Some began to notice that you get the HIGHEST if you put your largest number in the middle. A few wanted to find whether it mattered if you had small or large numbers.
Some worked on higher castles with 4 numbers on the bottom.
I started to give them partially completed castles so they had to find missing numbers using inverse operations.
I made an activity sheet with some ideas to get thinking started. From small beginnings came a very rich activity.