*This was originally a blog post in September 2012 – but I’ve added a couple of bits since and will probably continue to add and amend as time goes by. I hope there’s some helpful ideas here 🙂*

Whilst answering an e-mail from a lady who is doing some research for a music in development project in Uganda (she posted up on a group I’m on asking for people who’d be happy to chat to her), it occurred to me that I hadn’t ever posted, in any real detail, about some of the musical/rhythmical approaches to maths that we use here and it would be potentially useful if I did (and then I’ve a record of it that might be useful for ideas for someone).

## Percussion Multiples

## Multiples and Factors ‘Fruit Salad’ (group game)

- Arrange chairs in a circle with one person standing in the middle. Give each person a number (more than one person can have the same number).
- The person in the middle calls out a number and the people who are factors of that number have to get up and swap chairs (whilst the person in the middle also tries to find a chair). Whoever isn’t fast enough to get to a chair is then the next person to stand in the middle and call a number out.
- Repeat until you get rather tired!

## Multiples and Factors Dance or Maths Conga

You could also conga – multiples of 3 can be a left kick, multiples of 4 a right kick and if you get a multiple of both, jump! Or do whatever combination you fancy.

## Using Well-known Rhymes and Songs

There was a family strange indeed;

Each member had a peculiar speed.

They could walk for half a day

Counting footsteps all the way,

Here they come,

Number one.

1. I am proper, neat and prim

My walk is straight, my clothes are trim

So I count my steps and you will see

That every one’s the same for me:

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven [etc]

2. But

mytwostepsarenotthesameForImustleanuponmycane.

AlthoughI’mbentandweakandoldIcanstillcountwithnumbersbold:

One,two,three,four,five,[etc]

3. I’m a

lad, light andgayAnd I’dmuchratherplay.I canrunwith myballWhile thenumbersI docall:One, two,three,four, five,six [etc]

Three blind mice

Three blind mice

See how they run

See how they run

They all ran after the farmer’s wife

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife

Have you ever seen such a thing in your life?

As three blind mice.

(then, continuing the actions)

3, 6, 9

3, 6, 9

12, 15, 18

12, 15, 18

21, 24, 27

21, 24, 27

30, 33, 36

30, 33, 36

(we then do it backwards)

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack

All dressed in black, black, black

With silver buttons, buttons, buttons

All down her back, back, back

She asked her mother, mother, mother

For fifty pence, pence, pence

To see the elephant, elephant, elephant

Go jump the fence, fence, fence

It jumped so high, high, high

It reached the sky, sky, sky,

And never came back, back, back

Till the fourth of July, ly, ly.

(then)

One four is four, four, four

Two fours are eight, eight, eight

Three fours are twelve, twelve, twelve

Four fours are sixteen, sixteen, sixteen

(and so on and so forth up to twelve fours and then back down again)

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie

When the pie was opened the birds began to sing.

Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

The king was in his counting house, counting up his money.

The queen was in the parlour, eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes,

When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

(then)

1 times 6 is 6 and 2 times 6 is 12

3 times 6 is 18 and 4 times 6 is 24

5 times 6 is 30 and 6 times 6 is 36

7 times 6 is 42 and 8 times 6 is 48

9 times 6 is 54 and 10 times 6 is 60

11 times 6 is 66 and 12 times 6 is 72

13 times 6 is 78 and 14 times 6 is 84

15 times 6 is 90 and 16 times 6 is 96

(*phew* and then back down again)

Don’t forget to also use activities such as **skipping** (with a jump rope or elastics) or **beanbags** which could be used whilst doing the above verses as well.

***

Whilst some of the examples I’ve given are more for younger children (the basic counting family rhyme), others (such as dancing multiples) will work better with slightly older children and teens (because it takes quite a bit of co-ordination – we get in a bit of a muddle here, but will persevere as the children get older).

Hopefully the examples give you some ideas of how to inject a bit of music and rhythm into maths that will hopefully enthuse your children (and you) and show that maths can be a lot of fun!

*Nin and Ted playing Pirate Arithmetic*

## Other Useful Math Resources (That We Actually Use)

- A pack of playing cards (we have a rather lovely pack illustrated by Lauren Child featuring characters from Charlie and Lola). We use these to play matching games like “Snap” or “Go Fish” and I’m planning on teaching them “Rummy” and “Whist” this year to challenge them a little more.
- Board games such as Snakes & Ladders or Ludo.
- We also have a “Pirate’s Arithmetic Game” (produced by Haba) which the children enjoy (it includes the rules for 3 different games covering addition, but also has additional dice that can be used to make the games more challenging with subtraction and multiplication.
- Dice games such as Yachtzy.

*Nin and Ted play Yachtzy*

- We have a selection of glass pebbles and also pine cones, shells and various gemstones that can be used as maths manipulatives by Ted. Nin doesn’t really have much need for them now, although I’m planning on using sticks to explain the concept of vertical addition, subtraction, etc.
- Don’t forget the practical day-to-day applications such as cooking and baking, various craft activies, gardening, etc.
- NRich has some good ideas for further activities and games that use maths skills.