Some fun math!

As a private math tutor I frequently try to find some activity that I can give to students who don’t want to practice some of the basic, necessary skills. Like all other instructors I frequently look for things on the internet. One time I found a kind of coded message activity: the student has to figure out some basic math problems and the answers are matched with letters and that leads to converting a string of numbers into a sentence in English. Most of my tutorees just love doing that kind of thing. So I thought . . . why not create some tailored for them.

Here’s an example of one I’ve just done, geared towards year 5 (in the UK), kids who need practice with some of their times tables and a few division problems. The coded text is from an EXTREMELY popular movie that I’d bet any kid around the age of 9 or 10 will know. Especially the girls.


(If that doesn’t look too good click on this link to grab a .pdf file)


Now, this particular one has a small twist . . . two of the ‘answers’ are the same which means that the students have to figure out which letter is appropriate for the sentence.

I now have the creation of such activities down to less than 30 minutes. Frequently I’ll ask a child to tell me some of their favourite movies, go to The Internet Movie Database, look up quotes from the film, pick something of the right length and then fill in with the type of problems they need to practice. I can tweak the basic format to just about any level. You could even include punctuation.

Feel free to use this example!