When a really clever question asked at the start of the lesson didn’t quite work as intended.

“What would happen,” I asked, “if we didn’t have numbers?”

The answers from the class were rather predictable.  A few puzzled looks and then the notion that we wouldn’t have clocks so playtime could be longer – which met with approval.

“But would we have any problems if we didn’t have numbers?” I asked.

And another answer emerged: I wouldn’t be able to count the class to make sure everyone was here.

“But I could ask everyone to sit at a desk, and then see if there were any empty desks,” I replied.  And yes, they agreed that would work.

There was puzzlement. Until the suddenly excited answer came, “Money.”  And we agreed we wouldn’t know how much we had, and how much anything cost without numbers.

But still I wanted more, so I gave a hint.  “You are all in this room and you can all sit down, and I know this room can take 35 children.  And we have ten classes in the school.   Which means we have…”

They got that of course – 350 children in the school.  There were surprised looks – they had no idea there were that many.

“But supposing we couldn’t count – lots of children might turn up and we wouldn’t have enough spaces.”

“You’d have to say that the first ones in would have a desk,” said the class’s official Bright Spark.

And that’s when my carefully evolved lesson plan fell apart.  Because the next voice added, “And everyone else could go home,” came the call.  And thus the fact that a lack of numbers would be a jolly good idea was born.  Because turning up late would mean the school was full, and late comers could go home.

Maybe instead I should have stuck with the Sum Fun Maths Assessment series pack of Maths Assessment Puzzles.  You will find more information on our website.

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