page loader

What’s new in Maths Matters Resources?


Real-life maths is all around us – we just need to keep our eyes open. This photograph of Maria and 30 eggs was taken at our local cafe, The Spanish Deli, this morning. I couldn’t resist sharing this one with you all. Multiplication and division in action. These eggs had just been delivered in a 5 x 6 array. How many is that altogether? How do you know? e.g. 10 x 6 = 60 and half that is 30. 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 if you count by 5s. What if Maria had 2 trays delivered? How many eggs would that be? 10 trays like this? If Maria orders 100 trays like this in a month how many eggs might that be in one day? If she uses 3 eggs in every omelette how many omelettes can she make from 1 tray? 2 trays? 10 trays?

We can go on forever thinking of possible maths questions to solve. But that’s what you need to do with your students – encourage them to create their own questions. They can consider costs per tray and per egg, cost of a hamburger with an egg, cost of an omelette with 3 eggs.

How can you use this photograph today in your classroom?

MEASUREMENT ACTIVITIES – TIME – Which one takes longer? F12

Young students need to practise comparing and discussing different time events. Here’s something to add to your activities for the younger students at your school, Which one takes longer?. With a partner, take a time event card each and talk about what this would look like in your daily life. Time events are not fixed, so of course painting a wall may be a very small job and just involve touching p a few areas in under 10 minutes. Or it could be more involved and take quite a long time. Talk about which event might take longer and why. Or could each of the two events take exactly the same amount of time? There are some language cards to place in between the two time event cards so you can create a time “story” together.



Duffy is going crazy drawing a whole new set of people graphics for you to use with all your maths activities. This jumping girl is only the start. Keep checking Graphics: People over the next few weeks while we add a few at a time.

Use this graphic as a stimulus for class discussions.

  • How high can you jump?
  • What’s the highest anyone in the world can jump from a standing start?
  • Do taller people jump higher than shorter people?

In Data you can list all the things that make your students want to jump for joy. Then put them into a list according to the most popular to the least popular suggestion. How might you graph what you discover? What are three data comments you can make about this list?

PLACE VALUE ACTIVITIES – Grades 3/4 – Mystery 4-digit numbers

It’s always a challenge for your students once you move off the straight and narrow path. These 2 activities, Mystery 4-digit numbers, are designed to keep your students thinking. All they need to do is to discover which three 4-digit numbers fit all the given rules. Quite easy if they have their thinking caps on. Plus we include a detailed explanation of one way to work out the matching answers for those students who need more support. Once they get the idea perhaps they can think of other similar challenges themselves.

What if you discover three completely different mystery odd numbers which all have digits that add to 12? (e.g. 1551, 3333 and 5115)

Or three odd numbers where all the digits add to 10? (e.g. 1441, 3223 and 5005)

2D SHAPES PHOTOGRAPHS – Bali geometric ceromonial decorations

Just back from a delightful 2 week holiday to Ubud, Bali. The ceremonial decorations there are almost overwhelming in both their beauty and their construction. Most are made from strips of palm leaves, a few staples and “toothpicks”.

You can try to create some of your own using coloured paper squares. Most are rotation patterns, made from repeating a cut out palm leaf shape. Let your students’ imaginations run wild.



The Balinese also use these decorations as part of their ceremonial dances. You can find these photographs in 2D Shapes Photographs and also 3D Objects Photographs.

Geometric decorations with Bali Dancers Ubud Bev Dunbar Maths Matters

   8 pointed Star Decoration Ubud Bali Bev Dunbar Maths Matters27 pointed star decoration Ubud Bali Bev Dunbar Maths MattersCloseup of decorations Bali Bev Dunbar Maths Matters







NUMBER & ALGEBRA – Multiplication & Division Photographs – 9 Happy Children

Remembering your groups of 9 maths facts is not an easy task. Ideally by the end of Grade 4 students should have quick recall for all their multiplication and division facts to 10 x 10. This group of 9 happy children is one way to help them focus on adding groups of 9, looking for a pattern and locking them into their memory bank. There is also a Groups of 9 Happy Children Poster to help you with your Mental Warm-ups.


I know, I know. Yet another place value number in a real life setting. I just can’t resist them. This one was found on the streets of Morpeth, near Newcastle. Where can your students see numbers around them? What’s the largest number in their street? Is it odd or even? If 2 people live in each house from 1 – 77, how many people is that? What if there are 4 people in each house? 10 people? Could 100 people live in a house like this one? Why? Why not? What number is 100 more than 77? 1000 more? Is there a street in your suburb that has 1000 numbers? Why? Why not? What is the number of the house 3 up from this one on this side of the street? (79, 81, 83) Is there an easy way to work this out?

I am sure there are oodles more place value questions you can ask your students, using this photograph as the stimulus.

NUMBER & ALGEBRA – Fractions & Decimals – Rhino Decimal Counts 5/6/7

Decimals seem to always be one of those difficult concepts for your Stage 3 students to get their heads around. Here is a variety of Decimal resources to help.

  • Decimal Number Cards so your students can create random numbers to compare and manipulate.
  • Decimal Number Lines in 4 different forms for your students to visualise proportional reasoning with decimals. Where will their number appear on each number line? Is it smaller than, the same as or larger than half way between two given numbers?
  • Rhino 1-place Decimal Counts cards for pairs of students to practise counting by simple 1-place decimals as far as they can in just one minute. Keep practising until each student is confident they can count aloud without any finger manipulation or pen and paper scatchings.
  • Rhino 2-place Decimal Counts for pairs of students to practise counting by simple 2-place decmals.
  • Rhino Maths Facts cards to use in any way you like. But they will be a good companion to the counting cards to help make some of the counting numbers come to life. Which rhinos live for 0.35 centuries? Which rhinos grow to a mass of about 0.9 tonnes? Or have a horn that grows to 0.95 m?


Everything you need for a brilliant discussion on the different jellybean colours you can discover in one packet. Twenty-one beautiful colour jellybean photographs for those maths sessions where you are not able to use real jellybeans. And using photographs is more hygenic!

Think about how many jellybeans mights be in the whole pack? What estimation strategies work best for you? Which colour appears to be the most common? The least common? Which colour jellybean do you like to eat the most? I love black jellybeans but they are always amongst the  least plentiful colours.

What might a jellybean graph look like? How can you transfer a graph made from jellybeans to a workbook page? e.g. Will you draw in all the jellybeans? Use a colour code and dots or squares? Will you use any grid paper? What scale will you use/ How will you label your grid? What title will you give it?

Do all packets of jellybeans have the same numbers and colour combinations? How can you find out? e.g. Every class could investigate the contents of one packet of jellybeans. You can collect all the data you can from your class to share and compare  at a whole school assembly.

What questions can you ask each other about your jellybean discoveries? Why doesn’t the maker of the jellybeans put in equal colour numbers? When were jellybeans invented? Where? Who invented them? Why were they invented? Why might they be a bean shape and not a sphere or a cube shape?


A bush walk is a great way to see the countryside. And the Mt Banks walk in the Blue Mountains National park is a popular one, especially with families as it is not too arduous. Mt Banks was named after the famous colonial botanist Sir Joseph Banks. It stands about 100 km west of Sydney. It has an elevation of 1049 m and the walk to the top is about 4.8 km. It has a unique basalt cap for the top third. The lower two thirds section is made from Sydney sandstone.

There’s plenty of maths facts here to get your Stage 3 students started for a series of Length sessions. How high does a hill have to be before we call it a mountain? Which NSW mountains are taller than Mt Banks? Shorter? The same height? Which NSW mountain is the tallest? By how much more? How long would it take to walk to the top and back if it is a fairly easy walk? Lots of statistics as well as length measurements to consider.

And thanks to my bush-walking sister Lee for contributing this photo to our website.

MATHS GRAPHICS – Numbers and Symbols – Animal Numbers

We have just uploaded Duffy’s latest Animal Numbers 0 – 9, a spectacular assortment (including one bird …) to delight and inspire your Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students. Use them as headers on an activity card or as a stimulus for a discussion about where you will find this number in real-life.

Each animal is based on the matching digit in Comic Sans font. What a clever boy he is!

By the way, did you know that an “animal” includes mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians? Perhaps later Duffy will try to construct some sea-creature numbers too?


Plenty of lovely Biscuit Counters here to create your own oodles of counting activities. Clone them on your electronic whiteboard for an estimation task. Group them together for early multiplication concepts. Put them in pattern rows with some missing to identify pattern parts. What will your students do with these biscuits?

Bev has created an F/1/2 Patterns & Algebra activity, Baking Biscuits, using the biscuit shapes. Great for Early Stage 1 (5 year olds). Create and continue patterns, describe them to a partner, identify a missing part of  each pattern. You might even like to bake your own biscuits instead of using the biscuit cards. As real-life as you can get!!!


African animals in the wild are a great source of delight to us in the 21st century. The word Rhinoceros comes from two Greek terms for “nose” and “horn”, so appropriate. Their horn is not made from bone but from keratin (also found in your fingernails and hair). It is all hair and is not actually attached to their body. Ancient rhino skulls have also been mistaken for dragon skulls. And did you know that a group of rhinos is called a crash? World Rhino Day is celebrated each year on 22 September.

Use these 2 African Rhinoceros photographs as a stimulus for Measurement: Mass (adults have a mass of between 800 – 1200 kg), Time (they can live for 35 – 50 years), Length (adults can grow to a height of 1.7 – 1.8 m at their shoulder..) or even Speed (they can run at up to 50 km/h).

Bev has created some Stage 3 Decimal Counting cards using these rhinos as the visual stimulus. You will find them in Fractions and Decimals Activities 5/6/7


NUMBER & ALGEBRA – PLACE VALUE – Rounding up & down Number Lines 567

Yet more support for those Stage 3 students who just don’t get rounding up and down. Each of the Number Line Reference Cards can be used by individual Stage 3 students or small groups to help them visualise what happens to numbers as we round to the nearest 10, 100, 1000, 10 000, 100 000 or  1 000 000. There are also suggested small group activities.

You can also use these activities as part of your Daily Mental Warm-ups. Try them soon and watch your students gain in confidence.

NUMBER & ALGEBRA – PLACE VALUE ACTIVITIES – Price my Car (Rounding Large Numbers) 5/6/7

Price my car is packed with opportunities for Stage 3 students to round large numbers up and down to the nearest 10, 100, 1000, 10 000 and 100 000. Rounding up and down is an effective strategy for estimating. When you compare the prices of cars sometimes just a rough amount is OK. Whose car is worth more? Round to the nearest 10 000 for a rough idea. There is an ANSWER CHECKLIST included so your students can work independently.



Rounding up and down is an essential place value skill but one that is very difficult for students to understand. These Rounding Rules booklets are designed to support your Stage 3 students when trying to round any number to the  nearest 10, 100, 1000, 10 000, 100 000 or even 1 000 000. The language structure is the same in each booklet so that a fixed routine is developed.

Each booklet is made from 8 small photocopied strips, stapled to create an individual booklet. Each booklet provides the language structure to help your students work through each rounding up or down problem.

We are also working on some groups of Rounding to 100s, 1000s, 10 000s and 1 000 000s number lines so that your students can see another format to assist their visualisation of what happens each time. These should be available soon.

GEOMETRY – 2D Shapes Photographs – Crazy Tesselated Path

Tesselations are not always regular. Sometimes they are quite messy – like this Crazy Tesselated Path you see here. At first glance it looks like a random fitting of individual tiles but if you look very closely you will see a pattern. Can your students spot it easily? Look at the individual tiles. How many straight sides do they have? Why are they all so different? Why not just use a few tile shapes? Crazy paving uses a wide variety of shapes because of all the spaces created by trying to fit together non-symmetrical, irregular shapes. You need a new shape to exactly fit the spaces created.

One follow-up activity is to create your own crazy tile path with a pencil and paper. You may like to start drawing on a 1 cm grid.

NUMBER & ALGEBRA – Counting Photographs – 30 floor building

We’re always adding new photographs to the website. Plenty to keep you going – but we just can’t resist getting out the camera when we see something interesting for you. Here is another angle for a Sydney building site with floors 1-30 visible. Will it go higher? What if the builders add 3 more floors? 10 more floors? What floor will you be on if you are working 10 floors lower than the 17th floor? If you have to add special light fittings to all the even number floors, which floors will they be?

NUMBER & ALGEBRA – FRACTION ACTIVITIES – Grades 1/2 Counting Apple Quarters POSTER

Yay – more food. And its healthy for you too. 

Fractions come to life by counting real apple quarters. But if you don’t have access to real apples then here’s a Counting Apple Quarters Poster to help you. Use it as part of your daily Maths Mental Warm-ups.

Select a student to point to each apple quarter on the poster while the rest of the class count aloud either together or one-by-one. “One quarter, two quarters, three quarters, four quarters …” Encourage your students to improvise by saying equivalent names too. e.g. “two quarters or one half”. Or keep counting by quarters then at random call out STOP. Whoever is next at counting has to say how many whole apples and how many extra quarters. e.g. “17 quarters: that’s 4 whole apples and one extra quarter.”

Talk about effective strategies to help you visualise combined quarters quickly. Can you think in groups of 4 when you look at this poster?


ACARA Codes from the Australian National Curriculum have been added to all our Multiplication and Division activities. Just type the ACARA Code into our Search facility to instantly find a matching activity for your next Maths Session. What are you waiting for?