Primary School activities for 'Walk to School' week: Topical Maths [2]

By David Leighton 

Use this Walk to School Maths activity to bring purpose and context to Key Stage 2 investigations for primary school mathematics; second in the summer series of blogs linking classroom KS2 Maths lessons and resources to topical, calendar-based events.

May will hopefully see the sunshine stream through our classroom windows and shine through any SATs gloom that might still be hanging around (half way there now!).

Not only is the summer weather a good time to bust out some Outdoor Maths Activities, it's also the time to join thousands of children across the country involved in the action-packed Walk to School awareness week between the 15th and 19th.

This year, on Tuesday 16th of Walk to School Week, primary school pupils, parents and teachers across the country can raise money for walking projects by wearing their happy shoes (shiny shoes or gorilla feet spring to mind!).

Free download: 

20 topical maths problems and investigations for June - July 2017

National Walk to School Week helps children become healthier and happier by walking to school, while also lowering congestion and pollution outside of school gates. The aim is to emphasise the importance of a more healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating and exercise, as well as to make outside your school safer. It's a win-win!

How to get involved in Walk to School Week 2017

There's plenty of fun events and activities that you can run to raise awareness for the benefits of walking to school. Something as simple as a discussion about the importance of healthy eating and exercise backed up with the free and fantastic information provided by the UK charity for walking, Living Streets.

Or you could order one of Living Street's 'Walk to School Challenge Packs' and be one of the many schools getting involved in their projects this year.

Or – if you're more Mathematically inclined – you could use a Maths investigation like the those in our Summer-term Topical Maths Problems and remind your pupils to the magic of Maths!

Walk to School Week 2017 investigation – Magic Maths

Impress your friends with this Maths magic trick that lets you work out their shoe size and age!

First, give your friend a piece of paper and a pencil. Then ask them to do the following calculations without showing you:

1. Write down your age.Magic hat
2. Multiply it by one-fifth of 100.
3. Add on today's date (e.g. 16 if it is the 16th of the month).
4. Multiply by 20% of 25.
5. Now add on your shoe size (if it's a half size round to the next whole number).
6. Subtract 5 times today's date.
7. Now show me your final answer!

Now it's time for the magic!Magic hat

Look at their answer. If for example, it is 1105, that means there are 11 hundreds. This is their age. The remaining digits (05, or 5) show their shoe size.


Can you explain why this trick works?
Can you show how it works algebraically?

5 quick and easy activities for Walk to School Week

1. Estimate how many paces from the classroom to these locations: the school gate, school yard, canteen, assembly hall, then go out and measure them. Yo can ask pupils to discuss/answer questions such as 'is there a difference between girls and boys paces', 'teachers and pupils', 'does the caretaker have longer strides because he does the most walking'?

2. Forest school theme! Go outside to find the tallest plant, bush, log etc. What units are appropriate for measuring these? Is it sensible to measure all plants in millimetres? Why, or why not?

3. Ask pupils 'who has to walk the farthest to school? Discuss whether there appears to be a 'cut-off' point where pupils get on the bus instead?

4. Classroom-based activities: estimate pencil lenfths, door heights, desks etc. Then actually go and measure them. You can discuss or query why estimations were accurate/inaccurate and how to make an accurate estimation.

5. Ask pupils to come up with their own questions/investigations on measurement and then work them out. For example, 'if I walk at 2mph for 1 hour, where in town would I be able to walk to?'

We hope you enjoy these activities. Don't forget to tweet us @thirdspacetweet and tell us what you get up to this Walk to School Week. Happy trails!

This post is the second of our new topical Maths investigation series for summer-term 2017 which classroom KS2 Maths lessons and resources to calendar-based events. Follow the links below to each post:

  1. Share-a-Story Month activities
  2. Walk to School Week activities
  3. Election Maths activities
  4. FA Cup Maths activities
  5. Ramadan Maths activities
  6. Child Safety Week activities

And for more topical problem solving tasks linked to calendar-based events for the Summer Term don't forget to download your free topical problem solving resource

Or follow the links here for our hugely popular spring-term topical Maths series:

  1. Heart Month Months activities
  2. Shrove Tuesday Maths activities
  3. World Book Day Maths activities
  4. International Women's Day Maths activities
  5. British Science Week Maths activities
  6. Holi Maths activities
  7. Red Nose Day Maths activities
  8. Easter/Lent Maths activities

To find out more about our 1-to-1 Maths specialist intervention for your KS2 pupils, visit out Year 6 SATs foundation page, and for more information on earlier years, see our Year 3, 4, & 5 catch up programme

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