Playing Safe - A 'Start the Day' Puzzle


Do your children need practice solving problems and puzzles? Do you need activities that specifically practise the areas of mathematics that often get neglected in our jam-packed curriculum? Then look no further than this ‘Start the Day’ activity pack involving compass directions and code-cracking.

In this pack, there are 10 similar activities (each with teacher answers) in both PDF form and PowerPoint for easy sharing with your children on an interactive whiteboard.

The activity is designed to encourage children to work systematically to find the correct route through the safe code to reach the key at the centre. Each button tells them how many spaces to move (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6) and in which direction (North, East, South or West).

Tips on how to deliver these activities:

  • On the first occasion you use these activities, allow children a free run at solving the puzzle, perhaps with some very minor discussion around the compass directions;
  • Allow children to talk through their strategies for finding solutions, encouraging pupil voice in both paired and whole-class discussions;
  • If necessary (some children won’t find a way to solve the problem without a system), share a way to work backwards. For example, there is only one button which links to the key. Can we find it? There is only one button that links to that button (the one we just used to get to the key). Can we find it? Etc;
  • Encourage children to think about what they did to make the problem smaller;
  • Ask children how they could adapt the puzzle to make it easier, or more challenging (for example through fewer rows or columns, or through adding diagonal movements in the instructions - NE, SE, SW, NW);
  • Use one activity per week over a half term to encourage regular revisiting of the content (directions) and strategies (working backwards);
  • Have children create their own versions and send them to us to challenge our followers - Twitter: @UKExceED
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  • Playing-Safe.pdf
  • Playing-Safe.pptx

About this resource


Created: Nov 17, 2019

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

pdf, 560 KB


pptx, 836 KB


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