This week is Shrove Tuesday, a cornerstone of tradition in the UK as well as a time to feast. Unlike our previous post, on Heart Month February, it is a call to arms to gorge on delicious – and unfortunately unhealthy – pancakes. So bring on the Shrove Tuesday Maths activities!

In a previous post we mentioned how nothing quite links Maths back to the real world like the real world, and emphasised the importance of linking learning to special celebrations around the world to increase excitement and engagement among young learners. This remains both exceptionally true and important. We do however have a small amendment.

Nothing quite links Maths back to the real world quite like the real world, except pancakes

Food has a special place in the heart of both young and old – and the stomach is a direct route to engagement in schools. In schools, the stomach is king.

Looking for more topical Maths investigations? Download 20 more fun, printable activities to try with your KS2 class

Classroom resources free

KS2 Topical Maths Problems for Spring Term 2018

20 Maths investigations linked to calendar dates, designed to develop reasoning and problem solving in your pupils

In these posts we are emphasising how topical maths can be your superweapon, and all through February and March we will share Maths activities that you can link to calendar-based topical events to up the fun in your Maths lessons – to this end look out for our posts on British Science Week, Climate Change Week, and Easter/Lent. Many of the topics can be linked to wider learning and, in some cases (World Book Day – honestly!), literacy across the curriculum.

If you can’t wait for all these topical Maths acitivities to introduce context and more purpose into your lessons, here’s a free resource of Maths investigations and problems that wraps them all up together.

If topical Maths is your superweapon, then pancakes are your smart bomb

With this in mind, below is a list of Shrove Tuesday based Maths activities for you to use in your classroom this week. Happy hungering!

Shrove Tuesday activity 1

Ingestion Investigations

Read the following information to help you answer question 1:

A pancake house made 264 pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Jack’s family ate 2.5 times as many pancakes as Lara’s family. Ali’s family ate 1/8 of the total number of pancakes made. Lara’s family ate 2/3 of the amount that Ali’s family ate.

Use these clues to work out how to answer question 2:

• Person 1 ate three times as many pancakes as person 3.
• Person 2 ate the same number of pancakes as person 1.
• Person 3 ate 2 fewer pancakes than person 5.
• Person 4 ate 2 more pancakes than person 5.
• Person 5 ate 5 pancakes.



  1. How many pancakes did Jack’s family eat?
  2. How many pancakes did each of the five people in Ali’s family eat?

Shrove Tuesday activity 2

Pancake on your head race

Ask your pupils to walk across the playground – or alternatively the classroom – with a pancake on their head. Make them walk quite quickly. Each time they drop the pancake they must measure the distance from where it fell to the start. Each time they complete the distance add another pancake to the stack.

Extension task

Ask your pupils to work out how many times they would need to walk across the area without dropping the pancake in order, or work out the average distance walked before dropping pancake for the whole class.

Shrove Tuesday activity 3

Billy wants to have 2 sauces on his pancakes. Use the information below to investigate the different combinations of 2 sauces he could have:

A Pancake House offers 6 pancake sauces:

• Vanilla
• Strawberry
• Chocolate
• Toffee
• Lemon
• Maple

Check out 20+ more fun topical Maths investigations KS2 in our blog: 5 Ways to Use Topical Maths to Improve Problem Solving and Reasoning.

Sophie Bessemer , Content Team , Third Space Learning

An education publisher, content editor and primary school governor, Sophie works at Third Space producing resources and sharing best practice