Mastery of place value requires both good teaching and a great deal of practice. The decoding activities provided make this practice more engaging. Writing jokes within the context of other subjects allows numeracy to be supported across the curriculum.

Mastery of place value requires both good teaching and a great deal of practice. The decoding activities provided make this practice more engaging. Writing jokes within the context of other subjects allows numeracy to be supported across the curriculum.

Manipulate expressions using the Laws of Indices. Decode each puzzle to work out the punchline to a joke. (with answers)
Key words: index, indices, notation, expression, index laws, laws of indices, base, bases, power, powers, raising a power to a power, divide, multiply, puzzle, joke, decode, worksheet, practice, math, maths, mathematics, (unlock, untangle, understand).

Six puzzles plus a paragraph to decode, supported by a poster and a structured worksheet (pick and mix). Builds up to standard form. Devices within the puzzle allow students to self monitor their work and correct errors. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! Each puzzle also supports literacy. Students have to split the string of letters into recognisable words to read the punchline. (answers included).
Keywords: place value, multiply, units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, thousandths, hundredths, tenths, puzzle, joke, code, standard form, standard index form, standard form, power, of 10, number system, origins, poster, worksheet, practice, math, maths, mathematics, unlock untangle understand.

It is likely that you will shop in a supermarket, but will you spot the cheapest deals? ‘Best buy’ questions have been a staple on exam papers for years. Compare offers using equivalent quantities or unit cost to identify the best deal. Devices within the puzzle allow students to self monitor their work and correct errors. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! Each puzzle also supports literacy. Students have to split the string of letters into recognisable words to answer the joke (answers included). The symbols on the tins are Mongolian numerals.
Key words: best buy, value for money, proportion, equivalent quantities, estimte, unit cost, comparison, compare, ratio, joke, shopping, supermarket.

Expressions with the same base, can be manipulated using the Law of Indices. Decode the puzzle to practice the laws of indices when raising a power to another power, includes multiplying and dividing indices. If you like this resource, search for Index Laws 1, 2 and 4.
Key words: index, indices, notation, expression, index laws, base, bases, power, powers, raining a power to a power, multiply, divide, puzzle, joke, decode, worksheet, practice, math, maths joke, mathematics, (unlock, untangle, understand).

Expressions with the same base, can be manipulated using the Law of Indices. Change each expression into base of 3 or 5 before applying the laws of indices and decode the puzzle. I f you like this resource search for Index Laws 1 , 2 and 3.
Key words: index, indices, notation, expression, index laws, base, bases, power, powers, raining a power to a power, multiply, divide, puzzle, joke, decode, worksheet, practice, math, maths joke, mathematics, (unlock, untangle, understand).
Updated 28_09_16

Nice extension questions for rectangle area, with a different spin leaning towards the new style GCSE questions. The only maths you need to know is that the area of a rectangle is the length multiplied by the width. Using the measurements given and logical thinking, work out the missing values (answers provided).
Now with new proportional reasoning questions.
Key words: Menseki Meiro, area maze, area, rectangle, area of a rectangle, length, multiply, divide, width, compound shapes, Japanese puzzle, puzzle, multi step problems, logical thinking.

Nine puzzles for students to decode (pick and mix). Devices within the puzzle allow students to self monitor their work and correct errors. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! Each puzzle also supports literacy. Students have to split the string of letters into recognisable words to answer the joke. (answers included). Six other puzzles, which are simpler, can be found at - Place value - decimals (cross curricular numeracy). If students need support, project or print off the place value poster. Harder puzzles can be found under - Place value - powers of 10.
Keywords: the decimal system, read decimal numbers, place value, units, tenths, hundredths, thousandths, decimal, fraction. mixed number, puzzle, joke, code, number system, reading scale, joke, worksheet, math, maths, mathematics, unlock untangle understand.

Four mobile balancing problems to support algebraic reasoning. The thinking used in these puzzles is the same as the logic used behind solving equations. Explore equivalence where the LHS = RHS (Answers included).
Key words: equivalence, mobile problems, balance, pan balance, relationship, solve, balance problem, unknown, joke, logical thinking, multi-step problems, algebraic reasoning, puzzle, decode, worksheet, math, maths, mathematics, (unlock, untangle, understand).

Use the nth term expressions to calculate the missing terms in each sequence.
Key words: nth term, expression, sequence, sequences, ascending, worksheet.

It’s called Menseki Meiro, or Area Maze. The only maths you need to know is that the area of a rectangle is the length multiplied by the width. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! Use the information and some logical thinking to work out the punchline to the joke (answer included).
Key words: Menseki Meiro, area maze, area, rectangle, area of a rectangle, length, multiply, divide, width, compound area, Japanese puzzle, math problem, puzzle, logical thinking. Why did the rectangle go to the gym? untangle, unlock, understand.

Solve simple problems involving proportion. Find the value of the shaded sector by working out the relationship between the information given and the sector required. Could be used as a starter for pie charts (because the jokes link to pies and circles), or as a fraction of an amount activity or to develop proportional reasoning. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! (answers included)
Key words: proportion, equivalent quantity, unitary fraction, fraction, fraction of an amount, pie chart, multiply, divide, share, sector, circle, whole, total, joke, decode.

Use prime factors to find the square root of a number. This task is easily extended (decide if the square root of a number is an integer value, or not). The task develops a feeling for number and underpins an understanding of surds.
Key words: integer, factor, prime factor, factorisation, square root, root, surd.

8 Menseki Meiro, or Area Maze problems.
Key words: Menseki Meiro, area maze, area, rectangle, area of a rectangle, length, multiply, divide, width, compound shapes, Japanese puzzle, puzzle, multi step problems, logical thinking.

Find a fraction of an amount using unitary fractions to calculate the punchline to a joke. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode!
Key words: denominator, unitary fraction, proportion, fraction, fraction of an amount, share, whole, hole, total, joke, maths joke, punchline, decode, if it takes six men one hour to dig three holes...

Mathematical Vocabulary Booklet (ten_a_day)
A set of 12 matching activities in a booklet, intended as a refresher activity, to remind students about the key words used in mathematics and their definition or meaning. Students self assess their knowledge of a given word by shading a response box. An ideal starter or extension task to promote mathematical vocabulary that should be known at KS2, but may remain unfamiliar to students in subsequent key stages. Supports learning and retaining spellings of key mathematical words. Works well alongside http://www.numeracyninjas.org/
(Answers available on the TES site, search for mathematical vocabulary ten_a_day.)
Key words: vocabulary, mathematical vocabulary, match, definition, self assess, mathematical, mathematics, key words.

Match the number in words to the number in digits to decode the puzzle. Devices within the puzzle allow students to self monitor their work and correct errors. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! Each puzzle also supports literacy. Students have to split the string of letters into recognisable words to read the punchline. (answers included). If you like this, search for: Place Value - decode the puzzles, from powers of 10, to standard form.
Keywords: place value, units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, thousandths, hundredths, tenths, puzzle, joke, code, number system, practice, math joke, maths jokes, mathematics, unlock untangle understand.

Match the decimals given in words to the number given in digits. Devices within the puzzle allow students to self monitor their work and correct errors. Students like to finish a puzzle, but they don’t always like the jokes they decode! Each puzzle also supports literacy. Students have to split the string of letters into recognisable words to read the punchline. (answers included). If you like this, search for: Place Value - A pack of decimal and fraction puzzles.
Keywords: place value, decimals, units, tenths, hundredths, thousandths, puzzle, joke, number system, subtract, practice, math, maths joke, mathematics, unlock untangle understand.

A teacher-student resource inspired by teachers from Shanghai. A paper copy is given to the student, another copy projected on to the whiteboard. The resource is used to structure a mathematical discussion about nth term. How to form an nth term expression from a sequence and how to write a sequence given the nth term expression. Initially scaffolding is provided in the form of boxes to fill in. (answers provided).
Key words: nth term, term, expression, sequence, sequences, ascending, interactive, Shanghai.

The pack includes balance drawing problems (up to unknowns on both sides), then balance drawings with equations written using symbols. There is a structured worksheet and a puzzle to complete the activity.
The balance drawings reinforce the concept of equality LHS = RHS. There are no negatives, fractions or decimals involved in this pack only integer solutions. Answers on each page are easily checked because they sum to a multiple of 10 (answers included).
Key words: equivalence, mobile problems, balance problems, pan balance, relationship, algebra, solve, unknowns, unknowns on both sides, balance problem, unknown, joke, logical thinking, multi-step problems, algebraic reasoning, puzzle, decode, worksheet, math, maths, mathematics, (unlock, untangle, understand).

Complete each maze in the most efficient way possible. Add the values of all the squares visited together, match the answer to the appropriate letter to work out the answer to the riddle. I use these activities to check students know how to add fractions with common denominators, work with improper fractions and add simple mixed numbers. They also highlight if a student needs help adding directed numbers. Useful as a general reminder.
Key words: add, addition, revision activity, homework, diagnostic activity for number, total, calculation maze, puzzle, joke, practice, math joke, maths jokes, mathematics, Why did the boy stare at the carton of juice?, Did you hear about the four guys who stole a calendar? unlock untangle understand.