# Say cheese

26th January 2007 at 00:00
I am a curve that sets everything straight. I am big and I am small. I cost nothing but give much. I appear about 15 times in a day and I often change shape. What am I? A smile.

Let's face it, smiling and maths might seem to go together like beetles on a birthday cake but think again. If you are looking for an activity that is guaranteed to put a smile on every child's face and is low cost then say "cheese".

Group children into fours and tell them that they are going to measure each other's smiles. Before actual measuring, ask the children to estimate the length of each of the smiles in their group in centimetres and millimetres.

Everyone then makes their biggest smile and partners measure each other using a piece of string. Children then place the string next to a ruler and find the length. You could also use a tape measure. Were the children's guesstimates a "smile" wide?

Collect the data and display it on the board as a frequency table and display as a bar chart. Measure the total class length and display it in the classroom. It's smiles of fun

John Dabell is a numeracy consultant and teacher trainer

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