Problem solving

Problem-solving Investigations - Year 1

Problem-solving investigations provide a fun, stimulating context in which children can develop and exercise their ability to reason mathematically and think creatively. They provide extra skills practice and also provide a real challenge if the skill itself is proving undemanding for some children.

These problems  are designed to help children identify patterns, explore lines of thinking and investigate properties of numbers, shapes and measures. They can be used alongside the Hamilton plan for the week or independently. The teacher instructions for the whole term are collated in the Overview. Ruth's Advice gives some background and tips for using these investigations with your pupils.

Supporting documents for set
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Fill the box

Children fill a matchbox with items and count them accurately. 

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Dotty triangle corners

Children use trial and improvement to find different ways of making a given total by adding three numbers.

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Make 20

Children use coins and number shapes to make a total of 20.

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Make a stick (1), Flip and flop (2)

Make a stikc (1): Children find a collection of items which in total measure exactly one metre in length. They estimate which items will fill gaps, using trial and improvement. Flip and flop (2): Children cut shapes from a shape and create symmetrical patterns.

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Spot the difference

Children find dominoes where one side has one more spot than the other, and then where one side has two more spots than the other.

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Tricky tracks

Children use reasoning and logic to play ahead in playing a game on a 1-20 track.

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Sock doubles

Children double numbers 1 to 5 as part of a game, and find which answers from 1 to 10 are possible.

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Shape wheels

Children make a sequence of coloured shapes, changing one attribute at a time so that the sequence can end where it started, forming a circular sequence.

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Red or blue

Children explore number patterns when counting on or back 2, 3 and 4. They use two colours to represent even/odd numbers.

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Domino loop

Children make loops of dominoes such that meeting ends have a given total number of spots.

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Square tens (1), Domino digits (2)

Square tens (1): Children find pairs of dominoes such that the total number of spots is 10. Domino digits (2): Children find which numbers on a 1 - 100 grid they can make using dominoes - each domino can only be used once.