Weekly Primary Math Tasks

November 6, 2016

Hungry Ants

100 Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes

  • Read the story to the students.
  • Ask the students to choose one of the following numbers: 12, 24 or 36.
  • Ask them to imagine that this number of ants is going to the picnic.
  • Ask how many different ways could the ants arrange themselves into equal rows.
  • Have the students draw an array and write an equation for each solution.

October 30, 2016

I used digit cards to create a 2-digit number pattern. The wind blew the cards and mixed them up. How might you place the loose digit cards into the following to complete a pattern? How do you know? How might you extend the pattern?

source: Vector, Spring 2016

October 23, 2016

Allow students time to explore the attributes of various 3-D shapes. Have them identify the faces, edges and vertices of the 3-D shapes? Present various problems for them to solve:

  1. If you had 3 cones, 2 cylinders and a sphere, how many faces would you have? How do you know?
  2. You have 1 cube and your friend has 4 cylinders. Who has more faces? How do you know?
  3. I have some objects and in total I counted 8 faces. What might the objects be? Explain your thinking.
  4. I have a collection of objects that have 7 faces and a point. What shapes could they be? Explain your thinking.

Have the students create their own clues to create a problem.

(From Vector, March 2015)

October 16, 2016

Take your class outside and have students collect 5 of an object (leaves, rocks, etc..). The task is for students to work in groups and find different ways to make 5. How many ways can you make 5? How can you show all of your ways?

Extensions: How about 4? How about 6?

October 9, 2016


  • 10 or more snap cubes per student

Task Instruction

  • This is an activity that children can work on in groups.
  • Each child makes a train of connecting cubes of a specified number.
  • On the signal “Snap,” children break their trains into two parts and hold one hand behind their back.
  • Children take turns going around the circle showing their remaining cubes.
  • The other children work out the full number combination.

Source: https://www.youcubed.org/task/snap-it/

September 25, 2016

How Many are Hiding?


  • 10 or more snap cubes / objects per player
  • a cup for each player

Task Instruction

  • In this activity each child has the same number of cubes and a cup
  • They take turns hiding some of their cubes in the cup and showing the leftovers
  • Other children work out the answer to the question “How many are hiding,” and say the full number combination

Example: I have 10 cubes and I decide to hide 4 in my cup. My group can see that I only have 6 cubes. Students should be able to say that I’m hiding 4 cubes and that 6 and 4 make 10.

Source: https://www.youcubed.org/task/how-many-are-hiding/