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Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts 50 - Classifying Numbers

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 29 May 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 17 June 2008 by ncetm_administrator

Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts
A collection of memorable mathematics lessons that conference and colloquia delegates had observed or taught which they felt were successful.  Each account refers to one or more of the values and principles in the report.

Lesson Account 50 - Classifying Numbers

Written by Sue Briggs
Organisation The Castle School, Taunton
Age/Ability Range Year 10 – Set 6 out of 10

How was the session/task introduced?
I explained that we were revising different types of number

Working as a whole class

Build a mind-map using:

  •  a student’s choice of a single digit number, for example 7, in the centre
  • Then ask students what they know about this number, for example, if a prime number is mentioned, ask for three other prime numbers; if a factor of 28 is mentioned, ask for three other factors of 28. Discuss when it is not possible to give three other numbers and why.

Start a Word List on the board of different types of numbers: prime, cube, square, …

Working in pairs:

Students build their own mind-map, on their mini-whiteboards. They

  • Write their own single digit number in the centre
  • Write four things about their number eg prime no, factor of …, square number etc.
  • Write three other numbers on each branch with the same property.

Students then wipe out the central number and pass their board on to the next pair.

Each pair works out what number could go in the middle of the mind-map.

  • Is there more than one answer possible?
  • Are there some branches where it is not possible to find three other numbers?

As they work students added to the Word List on the teacher’s board.

The Word List will be used by the whole class during the main task.

Main task
Students worked in groups of 4 to 6 people. They use a set of number cards 0 to 20, or 0 to 50 as appropriate for each group. The group sort their cards. You could ask them to:

  • Sort the numbers into a set and ask another group to choose the correct word
  • Make a set of word cards and create puzzles matching a set of numbers to a word

How was the session/task sustained?
Students added new words to the list I asked them to try to use all the words on the list I worked with them as requested (TA did as well)

How was the session/task concluded?
Checked with group if there were any words they wanted help with. For homework, students were asked to create a puzzle similar to the starter activity to use in the next lesson. I did one on the board as a reminder. During the next lesson students made posters of numbers and their properties.

What were the critical moments?
Students choosing to move on to 0 to 50. Recognising when to intervene.

What mathematics was learnt? (on plan and off plan) and what is the evidence of learning?
Students revised identifying prime numbers, factors of…., multiples of… Evidence - Explanations to each other as they worked, posters and puzzles

How was that mathematics learnt?
Peer explanation / support Confirmation from me where they were uncertain as a whole group.

Other memorable outcomes
Their enjoyment and confidence. Their asking me to do this for their parents, which lead to a maths conference, a family maths evening, maths booster days. Co-operation and support for each other.

Mini whiteboards
Number cards 0 to 20 (light cards of different colours) and 0 to 50 (Dark cards of different colours) so that they are easy to sort out afterwards
Store cards in cash bags gathered from the finance office – They’re free


Downloadable PDF

Click here to download this lesson account in PDF format.

Values & Principles

Fluency in recalling facts and performing skills
Strategies for investigation and problem solving
Exposes and discusses common misconceptions and other surprising phenomena
Makes appropriate use of whole class interactive teaching, individual work and cooperative small group work
Encourages reasoning rather than ‘answer getting’

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Lesson Accounts Introduction

Mathematics Matters - What constitutes the effective learning of mathematics? find out more


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