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Boxes back up maths

Feely boxes are cheap and cheerful hands-on resources ideal for fostering mathematical language. They can be made easily out of sturdy cardboard boxes, used in lots of different ways and are suitable for learners of all ages.

Several mystery maths objects can be placed inside a box with two holes cut out either end for children to put their hands through. You could try putting a collection of 2D shapes in the box and ask children to find shapes with right angles, shapes with obtuse angles, shapes with parallel sides, shapes with two lines of symmetry and so on. Try this for solid shapes too.

One way to use a feely box with the whole class is to ask one person to describe what's inside and everyone else draws a picture of the object on a mini whiteboard.

The person doing the describing cannot name the shape but describes its features. Does the class reach a consensus? Children can take turns and a new object is placed inside the box each time.

Using feely boxes is a challenging and fun way of taxing children's maths thinking and vocabulary John Dabell is a numeracy consultant and teacher trainer

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