The **Place Value Photographs** are great for your daily mental warm-ups, with any age group. For example this photograph shows Bev in Ubud, Bali, standing beside House Number 13. Show this on your smartboard and give your students 1 minute to face a partner and tell each other everything they know about this number. Your students’ responses will vary widely but here are some possibilities …

We live at house number 13 too. It is a 2-digit number, larger than 10, smaller than 20, in between 9 and 15. One is in the 10s place and 3 is in the 1s place. It’s an odd number because the last digit is odd. The last 2 digits of my phone number are 1 and 3. My brother is 1 year older than that. The two digits add to 4. If you add 10 it makes 23, if you remove 1 it is 12, if you add 1 it makes 14. Double it is 26. Take it away from 100 leaves 87. Multiply it by 10 makes 130, by 100 makes 1300, by 1000 makes 13000. I can buy a chicken salad lunch for $13. If I share it between 3 people each person gets $4.33. It’s a quarter of 52 so I would need 4 x $13 to buy my school uniform which costs $52. You’d need 3 cars to take 13 people to a party including the drivers. That’s the total number of sides on a hexagon and an octagon. It’s 13 kilometres to our nearest cinema. I can toss a beanbag 13 metres. There are 13 letters in my first and last name.

In other words, you want your students to creatively expand their thinking without the need for any restrictions. The sky is the limit. You could challenge your class by asking every student to say something different each time, all based on the starting point of 13. Encourage a mix of number facts as well as real-life links. We need them to see the relevance in as many places as possible.

Coincidentally there are 13 letters in the word “brainstorming“.