Election Day Maths Activities – Vote Maths in the UK General Election 2024!

Election maths activities are a great way to bring real-world maths into your classroom. 

This year, the UK election coincides with a period when you may have additional time to explore real-world maths. To help you make the most of this, we’ve pulled together some interactive, national curriculum-aligned election maths activities for all year groups, from KS2 to KS4.

We’ve divided the election day maths activities into those more suitable for primary school and those more suitable for secondary and high school, but you’ll know the level your students are working at so start where it seems appropriate. 

The national curriculum year group links are recommendations only. Many of these teaching resources have opportunities for adaptation and differentiation for different years as required. 

Crucially, we’ve included all the data you’ll need so you shouldn’t need to spend long preparing these activities. 

And as usual, if you want a more ready-to-use, designed version of all these, the election day maths resource is available for free download: Download Election Day Maths Activities

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Election Maths Activities Pack

12 real world election maths activities - 6 for KS2 and 6 for KS3/4. Relevant topical suggestions to use in any election related activities in your school.

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Regular followers of Third Space Learning will know that providing real-world context to maths problems is a key part of the maths curriculum our primary and secondary maths tutors follow. If you would like to learn more about what the curriculum lessons look like take a look at our primary maths tutoring programmes and our secondary maths tutoring programmes.

At the end of the primary school activities, you can find links to a range of other ‘topical’ and engaging free resources, worksheets and maths activities designed for different school-related contexts. 

Election maths activities for KS2 primary school

These maths activities are designed to be engaging, educational, and aligned with the national curriculum. They provide pupils with practical applications of mathematical concepts which can help to deepen and solidify their understanding.

Third Space Learning tutoring lessons are designed to scaffold pupil learning using an ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach to enable them to develop the skills they need to complete independent practice. At this stage, our tutors support pupils to apply their learning to problem-solving and reasoning questions, incorporating real-life applications of their learning.

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1. Creating an election pictogram 

National curriculum link: Year 2 – Statistics (interpret and construct simple pictograms, tally charts, block diagrams, and simple tables)

Estimated time: 45 minutes

Activity description: Introduce your pupils to the concept of elections using a pictogram activity. This activity will help pupils understand data handling and how to collect, organise, and display data visually.

Instructions:

  1. Explain to the pupils that they will be conducting a mock election in the classroom. Create a simple ballot with 3-4 candidates or choices. For example:
    • Favourite fruit (Apple, Banana, Orange, Grapes)
    • Favourite UK party (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green Party)
  2. Each pupil will vote for their favourite choice.
  3. Collect the votes and tally the results.
  4. On a large piece of paper, whiteboard or PowerPoint, create a pictogram including the key. 
  5. Help the pupils fill in the pictogram with the data collected from the voting process.

Data and sources:

Create simple, fictional data such as:

  • Apple: 10 votes
  • Banana: 8 votes
  • Orange: 6 votes
  • Grapes: 12 votes

Or use an election-related example:

  • Conservative: 10 votes
  • Labour: 8 votes
  • Liberal Democrats: 6 votes
  • Green Party: 12 votes
KS2 general election voting card activity

2. Simple percentages with election results 

National curriculum link: Year 5 – Number – Fractions (recognise the percent symbol (%) and understand that per cent relates to ‘number of parts per hundred’; write percentages as a fraction with denominator hundred, and as a decimal)

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Activity description: Pupils will learn to calculate percentages using a simple election results scenario. This helps pupils understand place value and basic fraction and percentage concepts.

Instructions:

  1. Discuss the fact that the UK is divided into 650 constituencies (or areas). Each constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) who represents them in the House of Commons. On voting day, people vote in their constituency at polling stations for the candidate (person) who they want to represent their constituency in the House of Commons. Each candidate will represent a different political party (e.g. conservatives, labour, green party, independent). When the voting closes, the votes are counted. The candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins a seat in the House of Commons. 
  2. Provide the pupils with fictional election data. For example:
    • Conservative: 351 seats
    • Labour: 208 seats
    • Liberal Democrats: 13 seats
    • Other: 78 seats
  3. Ask the pupils to calculate the percentage of seats each party received.
  4. Guide them through the process of converting the number of votes into percentages:
    • Total seats = 650
    • Conservative: 351/650 = 54%
    • Labour: 208/650 = 32%
    • Liberal Democrats: 13/650 = 2%
    • Other: 78/650 = 12%

Data and sources:

  • Use the fictional data provided above.

3. Election-themed time problems 

National curriculum link: Year 3 – Measurement (tell and write the time from an analogue clock, including using Roman numerals from I to XII, and 12-hour and 24-hour clocks and compare durations of events, [e.g. to calculate the time taken by particular events or tasks])

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Activity description: Use election day schedules to create time word problems for your pupils. This activity will help them practise reading and converting time.

Instructions:

  1. Create a simple election day schedule. For example:
    • Polls open at 7:00 am
    • Campaign rally at 10:30 am
    • Polls close at 10:00 pm
  2. Ask pupils questions about the schedule, such as:
    • “How many hours are the polls open?”
    • “If the campaign rally lasts for 1.5 hours, what time does it end?”

Data and sources:

  • Fictional schedule data:
    • Polls open: 7:00 am
    • Campaign rally: 10:30 am
    • Polls close: 10:00 pm

4. Election themed word problems

National curriculum link: Year 5 – Number – Addition and Subtraction (solve addition and subtraction multi-step problems in contexts, deciding which operations and methods to use and why)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Activity description: Incorporate word problems into your maths lessons by using election-themed scenarios. This helps pupils practise problem-solving skills in a real-world context.

Instructions:

  1. Create a series of word problems related to election scenarios, such as finding the missing number. For example:
    • “If the Conservative Party received 45 votes, the Labour Party received 30 votes, and the Green Party received 10 votes, how many more votes did the Conservative Party get than the Labour Party?”
    • “If 100 people voted and 60% voted for the Conservative Party, how many votes did they receive?”
  2. Work through the problems as a class or in small groups.

Data and sources:

  • Use simple, fictional data like:
  • Conservative: 45 votes
  • Labour: 30 votes
  • Green Party: 10 votes

5. Voting system simulation

National curriculum link: Year 6 – Statistics (interpret and construct pie charts and line graphs and use these to solve problems)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Activity description: Simulate different voting systems to show how results can vary based on the method used. This activity helps pupils understand data representation and the concept of fairness in elections.

Instructions:

  1. Explain different voting systems (e.g., First Past the Post, Proportional Representation). You can use the following scenarios to help explain the voting systems to your class.

First past the post (FPTP)

Imagine you and your friends are having a vote to decide what game to play at break time. Each person writes down their favourite game on a piece of paper. Then, all the pieces of paper are collected and counted.

The game that gets the most votes wins. It doesn’t matter if the winning game gets slightly more than half of the votes or significantly more – as long as it has the most votes, that’s the game you all play. This is called “First Past the Post.”

For example, if 10 friends vote and 4 choose football, 3 choose tag, and 3 choose hide and seek, football wins because it has the most votes, even though more people (6) actually wanted to play something else.

Proportional representation (PR)

Now, let’s imagine a different way to decide on the game. In this way, we try to make sure the number of people who want to play each game is reflected more fairly.

Instead of just choosing the game with the most votes, we use the votes to decide how much time we spend on each game. If 10 friends are voting and 4 choose football, 3 choose stuck in the mud, and 3 choose hide and seek, then you might play football for 40% of the time, stuck in the mud for 30% of the time, and hide and seek for 30% of the time.

This way, everyone gets a chance to play the game they like, and the time spent on each game matches how many people voted for it. This is called “Proportional Representation.”

  1. Conduct a mock election with the class using a simple scenario:
    • Candidates: A, B, C
    • Votes: A (35), B (25), C (40)
  2. Show how the results differ under each system:
    • First Past the Post: C wins
    • Proportional Representation: A; 35%, B: 25%, C: 40%

Data and sources:

  • Use simple, fictional data like:
    • A: 35 votes
    • B: 25 votes
    • C: 40 votes

6. Candidate budgeting activity

National curriculum link: Year 6 – Number – Fractions (use common factors to simplify fractions; use common multiples to express fractions in the same denomination)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Activity description: Teach pupils about budgeting and fractions by having them create a budget for an election campaign. This activity involves practical maths skills.

Instructions:

  1. Provide a fictional budget scenario. For example:
    • Total budget: £1,000
    • Spending categories: Advertising, Travel, Staff, Miscellaneous
  2. Ask pupils to allocate the budget to each category using fractions. Encourage pupils to think about what they would reasonably expect to spend money on (e.g. where would they advertise, why would they need to travel, who would be on their staff). You could put this into the perspective of voting for school council members
  3. Ensure the fractions add up to 1 (whole).

Data and sources:

  • Fictional budget data:
    • Advertising: £400 (4/10)
    • Travel: £200 (2/10)
    • Staff: £300 (3/10)
    • Miscellaneous: £100 (1/10)

Election maths activities for KS3 & KS4 secondary school

The maths activities suggested here are designed to help you and your students explore the democratic process and consolidate pupil learning in maths topics such as statistics, data analysis, graphs and percentages.

1. Analysing past election data

National curriculum link: KS3 – Statistics (interpret and construct tables, charts, and diagrams, including frequency tables, bar charts, pie charts, and pictograms)

Estimated time: 1.5 hours

Activity description: Students will analyse past election data to understand trends and make predictions. This activity involves interpreting data and using statistical methods.

Instructions:

  1. Provide historical election data. For example, use the 2019 UK General Election results:
    1. Conservative: 365 seats
    2. Labour: 203 seats
    3. SNP: 48 seats
    4. Liberal Democrats: 11 seats
    5. Others: 23 seats
  2. Ask students to create various charts (bar graphs, pie charts) to represent the data.
  3. Discuss the trends observed and potential reasons behind them.

Data and sources:

Fictional data:

  • Conservative: 365 seats
  • Labour: 203 seats
  • SNP: 48 seats
  • Liberal Democrats: 11 seats
  • Others: 23 seats
General election chart and graph activity for KS3

2. Understanding proportional representation

National curriculum link: KS3 – Number (understand and use proportionality and ratios in real contexts)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Activity description: Explore how proportional representation affects election outcomes. This activity helps students understand the concept of ratios and proportionality.

Instructions:

  1. Explain the concept of proportional representation:

    Proportional representation is a system where the number of seats or amount of influence each group gets is directly based on the proportion of votes or support they receive.
  2. Use a fictional election scenario with vote counts:

    For example,
    600 votes are cast in an election that uses proportional representation. There are 100 seats available in parliament.
    • Party A: 300 votes
    • Party B: 200 votes
    • Party C: 100 votes
  3. Show how seats would be distributed under proportional representation.
    • Total seats: 100
    • Party A: 300/600 * 100 = 50 seats
    • Party B: 200/600 * 100 = 33 seats
    • Party C: 100/600 * 100 = 17 seats

Data and sources:

  • Fictional data:
    • 100 seats in parliament
    • Party A: 300 votes
    • Party B: 200 votes
    • Party C: 100 votes

3. Election campaign strategy game

National curriculum link: KS3 – Probability (calculate the probability of independent and dependent combined events, including using tree diagrams and other representations)

Estimated time: 1.5 hours

Activity description: Simulate an election campaign strategy game where students use probability to make decisions. This activity involves understanding probability questions and strategic thinking.

Instructions:

  1. Divide students into small groups, each representing a fictional political party.
  2. Provide each group with a set of resources (time, money, volunteers) to allocate to different campaign activities (advertising, rallies, door-to-door canvassing).
  3. Use probability to determine the success of each activity (e.g., a rally has a 60% chance of increasing votes by 5%).
  4. Track the progress and calculate the final vote count based on the strategies used.

Data and sources:

  • Create fictional probabilities and resource allocations for the game:
    • Advertising: 50% chance of increasing votes by 10%
    • Rallies: 60% chance of increasing votes by 5%
    • Canvassing: 70% chance of increasing votes by 7%

4. Calculating swing votes and margins

National curriculum link: KS4 – Number (understand and use percentages, percentages of amounts, and percentage increase/decrease)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Activity description: Students will calculate swing votes and margins to understand how small changes can impact election results. This activity involves working with percentages and understanding electoral dynamics.

Instructions:

  1. Provide a simple election scenario:

    For example,
    • Candidate A: 51% of the vote
    • Candidate B: 49% of the vote
  2. Ask students to calculate the number of swing votes needed for Candidate B to win if there are 10,000 total votes.
    • Difference in votes: 2% of 10,000 = 200 votes
    • Swing votes needed: 200/2 = 100 votes

Data and sources:

  • Fictional data:
    • Total votes: 10,000
    • Candidate A: 51%
    • Candidate B: 49%

5. Voting system comparison project

National curriculum link: KS4 – Number (use and apply standard techniques to interpret and compare numbers in different forms)

Estimated time: 2 hours (can be spread over multiple sessions)

Activity description: Compare different voting systems (First Past the Post and Proportional Representation) and how they affect election outcomes. This project involves comparing numerical data and understanding electoral processes.

Instructions:

  1. Explain the different voting systems to the students.

    Proportional representation is a system where the number of seats or amount of influence each group gets is directly based on the proportion of votes or support they receive.

First past the post is a system where the candidate with the most votes wins, regardless of whether they have a majority of the total votes.

  1. Provide a set of fictional election results:

    For example,
    • Party A: 400 votes
    • Party B: 300 votes
    • Party C: 200 votes
    • Party D: 100 votes
  2. Calculate the election results under each system:
    • First Past the Post: Party A wins
    • Proportional Representation: Calculate the percentage of seats each party would receive.
  3. Discuss the pros and cons of each system.

Data and sources:

  • Use fictional data for the calculations:
    • Party A: 400 votes
    • Party B: 300 votes
    • Party C: 200 votes
    • Party D: 100 votes

6. Simulating election turnout and its impact

National curriculum link: KS4 – Statistics (describe, interpret and compare observed distributions of a single variable through appropriate graphical representation involving discrete, continuous and grouped data, and appropriate measures of central tendency)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Activity description: Simulate the impact of voter turnout on election results using statistical analysis. This activity involves understanding statistics and the importance of voter participation.

Instructions:

  1. Provide a fictional scenario with varying voter turnout percentages for different groups.

    For example,
    • Group A: 70% turnout
    • Group B: 50% turnout
    • Group C: 30% turnout
  2. Calculate the total number of votes for each party based on turnout.
  3. Discuss how changes in turnout can affect the overall election results.

Data and sources:

  • Use fictional data for the calculations:
    • Group A: 70% turnout (700 out of 1000 voters)
    • Group B: 50% turnout (500 out of 1000 voters)
    • Group C: 30% turnout (300 out of 1000 voters)
    • Party A receives 40% of votes from each group, Party B receives 35%, and Party C receives 25%.

Looking for additional support and resources at KS3?

You are welcome to download any of the secondary maths resources from Third Space Learning’s resource library for free. There is a section devoted to GCSE maths revision with plenty of maths worksheets and GCSE maths questions. There are also maths tests for KS3, including a Year 7 maths test, a Year 8 maths test and a Year 9 maths test

For children who need more support, our maths intervention programmes for KS3 achieve outstanding results through a personalised one to one tuition approach.

That’s all 12 election day maths activities for you. Don’t forget to download the free printable election maths resource for a better designed experience. And let us know how you get on. 

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