Weight: can you measure up?!

This week are are exploring the “Measures” strand of the maths curriculum. More specifically we are exploring weight. The curricular objectives are as follows:

  • develop an understanding of the concept of weight through exploration, handling of objects and use of appropriate vocabulary
  • compare and order objects according to weight
  • estimate and weigh in non-standard units
  • select and use appropriate non-standard units to weigh objects

We are using a balance to predict what objects are the same weight (eg. what weighs the same as my eraser) and then comparing the weight of objects using non-standard units of measure (we are mostly using unifix cubes as they are in plentiful supply).

I cannot stress the importance of “hands on” & “discovery learning” for maths. There is no substitute for having concrete materials in your hand. That said, some of my class could handle an “abstract” challenge at this stage of the programme. I spent some time online this evening in between completing overdue paperwork (Groan: I hate falling behind but I had a wedding to plan 😉 ) Anyway, here it is…

It is as yet untested by my class but looks like a winner to me. You need to add/remove the weights in order to make it balance. The graphics are very clear so children can easily see if the rock  is heavier or lighter than the counters. Then they can remove/add counters one at a time in order to achieve a balance between the two. Then click on the “tick” to see if you are correct. “Sid the Scientist” gives clear explanations and chats a little about weight and perception. Overall it is a great game. I can’t wait to play it with my class tomorrow!

balance 2

Click here to play

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh


Math Man Addition Game

I have been searching for some more fun games to encourage my pupils to practice their addition skills. I love to use online maths games as they naturally inspire interest. It’s pretty hard to get kids buzzed up about a page of maths problems but suggest a maths game and you feel the positivity and excitement fill the room.

Here is another game from sheppardsoftware.com. I am fast becoming a fan! Unfortunately many of their games do not exactly match our curriculum in Ireland. Math Man is a great game and can be played by children from Senior Infant up. The harder levels are perfect for middle school or even higher school pupils who need a little bit of practice.

Math Man is a type of Pacman that many of us will remember from our childhood. I haven’t yet played this one in class so I am not sure how it will go with an interactive whiteboard. I think that you will need to use the arrows on the keyboard rather than your pen. We call our pen ” squiggle” 😉

I think that Math Man is going to be a popular game with my class! Doesn’t it look cool?! It’s also pretty simple to play.You need to navigate your way to “eat” the ghost with the number that answers  the sum on the bottom of the screen. If you eat a star the ghosts will freeze for a second.

math man

                                                                                                  Click here to play addition up to 10

maths man 2                                                                                                      Click here to play addition up to 20

I hope that you all enjoy this retro Math Man game. I certainly enjoyed reviewing it for you.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Fruit Shoot Addition Practice!

There’s just something about brightly coloured fruit that puts me in a Summer mood.This addition game would almost fool you into thinking that it was Summer! No such look here in Ireland. Another overcast day…  

I love, love games that allow me to choose from many and varied levels. This Fruit Shoot game is suitable for children from Senior Infants up. The easiest level has sums up to 10 which is an exact match for our Senior Infant objectives. Yippee!!

fruit maths 1

Once you have selected your level then you can select either the relaxed or timed mode depending on ability levels. It also allows you to start on the Relaxed mode and over a period of time, say a week, become more skilled and then take on the challenge of the timed mode.

I  like having the option to avoid the timed mode if desired. Completing a challenge against the clock can be a source of stress and upset for some children. It’s great to have a choice, though, as some kids thrive on the challenge. I have some real speed demons this year that would relish the timed mode 😉

fruit maths 2

Now for the fun bit… Line up your target, the correct answer, and fire to make the fruit splat!!!

fruit maths 3

         Click here to play

I can’t wait to play this with my kiddos once we complete our unit on Weight.

Have fun,


Miss Mernagh 🙂

“Spot on” addition game

My class have been playing this “Spot on” addition game for almost a fortnight now. They are really enjoying it and practicing lots of maths skills in the process. Love it!!!!

Some of the skills that this games encourages  includes: an awareness of 10, improved addition and “mental maths”,  “subitising” and an awareness of “part-part-whole” relationships.

What you need to play “Spot on”:

All you need is a dice, 10 “spots” or counters and a 10 frame. You can download a free 10 frame here.

frame 1

How to play “Spot on”:

Child 1 rolls the dice and places that amount of “spots” on his/her card.

All other children then have their first turn and place the relevant number of spots on their board.

Before children roll the dice for a second time they must identify “how many more” spots are needed to fill their board.

( See the example below: I rolled 6 and need 4 more to be “spot on”).

You can only win the game by throwing the exact number needed to fill your board. This may mean throwing the dice and placing no “spots” on the board. If I rolled a 5 below I would place no counters on my board. I need exactly 4 to be “spot on”

When you call get the exact number need then you fill the board and shout “spot on!”

frame 2

Why we have been playing “Spot on”:

For the first few days I circulated and prompted maths talk.

  • How many more do you need for “spot on”?
  • Can you get that many with one more roll of the dice? Why/why not?
  • How many are on your board now? What did you just roll? Make a number sentence with those numbers eg. 5 and 4 more makes 9. I need one more for “spot on”.

Now my pupils naturally talk to each other about their 10 frame and how many more is needed, who have less than them, what their number sentence is.

I encourage my pupils to “subitise” when playing the game. Subitising is recognising a collection (of objects, pictures, dots on dominoes etc) without counting, simply by looking.  In this case, the empty frames on their 10 frame may create a pattern that they can visually recognise.

I also encourage pupils to “count on” and use “mental maths strategies“. They know that each row contains 5 frames and that there are 10 frames in total, 2 rows for 5.  They can use this information to count on. eg if they see 3 spots in the first row: 2  blanks and 5 more in the bottom row:

They should be create number sentence like these below rather than actually “counting” the frames by touching them:

  • 2 and 5 more makes 7

To consolidate “part-part-whole knowledge” by establishing the ability to see and recognise a number in terms of its parts, eg see 10 in terms of :

  • 7 and 3 more would make 10
  • or  7 being 3 less than 10

I hope that you all have lots of fun playing this game. There are lots of versions of this floating around the internet. Have any of you play it already?

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Counting Bricks and basic maths concepts

Do you ever “lose” an online resource? I played this Counting Bricks game before Christmas and forgot to bookmark it! I failed to locate it in the history on my work p.c and spent the last 30 min online trying to locate it. Frustrating! I had only played it once before and couldn’t remember anything apart from builders and bricks!

It is a really fun game for Junior or Senior Infants to play. I really love that they whistle as they wheel their barrows! Counting bricks had a definite appeal to the boys in my class when we played it. I know that I harp on about this but most online games seem a bit “girly” to me. So few of them set out to capture the attention of boys.

Counting bricks is a wonderful game to demonstrate the connection between concrete (objects)and the abstract sum. Just wait and see. It is soooooo clear!

Here are the precious builders off loading their bricks:
counting bricks 2

Now the addition problem appears:

counting bricks 3

Correctly add the bricks and input the number and “bing” you get to move on to another sum…

counting bricks 4

Click here to play

Just in case you are curious about the cause of my frantic searching for this game I thought I would clue you in. Developing early mathematical concepts requires lots of “hands on activity” to take children from counting from rote memorization to an understanding of number operations.

Counting bricks represents numbers in a very clear manner:

  • the blocks are colour coded so we can see the correspondence between 2 bricks in the first pile and the numeral 2 at the start of the sum.
  • the blocks are large enough to easily count
  • the blocks are clearly divided into 2 sets as our sum has two distinct parts ( 2 and 3 more)

I also love that this game isn’t timed. I can leave it on the whiteboard or PC for as long as I need to explore the concept. You have could have your pupils join in “building the sum” with Unifix cubes or “counting on” using their number line for example.

As I know that many of those who follow my blog are parents I thought that I would give you a brief explanation around some of the counting skills promoted in this game. We sure “play” a lot in maths class but there is a very good reason behind it 😉


The ability to match numbers to objects or object to object. One and only one number word can be matched to each and every object we count. “I say one when I touch one cube, I say 2 when I touch the 2nd cube…”


The number name given to the last object tells you how many objects you have counted in total.


To recognise small numbers without counting them.

Cardinality & Subitising:

When children well developed skills we should encourage them to “count on”.

If they can instantly recognise that there are 2 bricks in the first set they can “count on” from this for the second set “2, 3, 4, 5″ rather than counting each brick individually starting from one.

I would expect Senior Infant children to be able to “call out” most of the sums in this game without the need to “count” the bricks. They should be able to recognise the numbers and simply say “3 and 2 makes…”. Being able to give the answer by subitising would be great too, if not allow them to count the bricks by touching them in one-to-one-correspondence.

I hope that you found this post useful . I know that my class will be playing it tomorrow. Will you?!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

What time is it Mr. Wolf?

Have you enjoyed the Cambridge Interactive clock ?! My class did and seem to have taken to telling the time with great ease. I am pretty sure that the ease and speed at which they grasped the concept of time has thanks to some great interactive resources. I don’t think that I have ever found it easier to teach 🙂  We even did well on the hardest level where the numbers were removed from the clock. I am very proud of my kiddos for this!!!

What time is it Mr. Wolf  is a really fun game and proved a great hit. It was a great way to consolidate their skills further. It is very simple to use and also promoted literacy skills as they had to read number words 1-12 and then move the hands on the clock accordingly. As with the Cambridge Interactive Clock only the hour had moves.

Children have a choice of moving the hands clockwise and anti-clockwise to create the correct time. I encouraged children to move the hands in a clockwise manner as some are a little shaky at counting backwards. I was pleasantly surprised at how many intuitively chose to go anti-clockwise when it was the most sensible and quickest way to the requested time! They knew to go backwards from 8pm to 6pm rather than going all around the clock.

For my pupils the greatest joy came from entering the incorrect answer rather than the correct one. LOL! They just loved to see poor Little Red Riding Hood devoured by the wolf! Seriously, they would show me the correct answer on the clock face and then beg to “make a mistake” just to have her eaten!!!

time 1

Click here to play

I hope that your kids have as much fun playing What time is Mr. Wolf as much as mine did!

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Have fun,

Duck Shoot Maths Game

Here is another fun counting game and number recognition game that my class love! The number range is from 1-10. You need to read the target number, in this case 6, and click on duck number 6. The cutest duck voice will tell you whether you are correct or not. My class just love it! We played it everyday last week!

Click here to play

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Spooky Ghost Number Sequences

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for not having any posts for a while. My computer has had one problem after another. Tonight it has finally been fixed! Can’t wait to fill you in on all that you have missed!

My class have been working on number sequences and this fun game is a perfect accompaniment to that! They don’t seem to mind that Halloween is over!

You click on the missing number in the sequence  and then click enter to make  the ghosts disappear. Spooky….

Click here to play

Check back in later this week for more fun maths games. We have been playing lots of them lately.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Starting School: Preparing for Maths Class (Activity 3)

“Counting Fish” is a  fun game that will give your child lots of practice counting and reading numerals. Lots of useful learning before school starts 😉

Here are the Irish Curriculum Guidelines if you have not already read them in previous articles:

Content for junior infant classes

Strand unit: Counting

The child should be enabled to

  • count the number of objects in a set, 1-10

Strand unit: Analysis of number – Numeration

  • develop an understanding of the conservation of number, 1-5*
  • read, write and order numerals, 1-5**

* Conservation of number means that your child knows that it is “4” regardless of how it is presented:

eg .4 fish close together, 4 fish scattered all over the sea bed, 2 fish on one side of the screen and 2 fish on the other…

** Your child only needs to read numbers 1-5. This game will help boost your child’s learning as it deals with numbers 0-  10 in level 2.

Click here to play

Level 1 of “Counting Fish” deals with small numbers and the fish are easy to see. Your child needs to count the number of fish he/she see swimming and then click on the corresponding numeral.

As you move your mouse over the numeral cards you will hear what number it is. This is helpful for children who are good at counting but are only learning to read written numerals.

If you make a mistake:

If your child makes a mistake he/she will hear an audio hint, see above, utilizing a more than and less than hint . It is important for children to hear and use the terms “more than” and “less than”  as a point of comparison between numbers. This will help with addition and subtraction later on.

“Counting Fish” has 3 levels of difficulty. Your child must score 70% or more to move onto the next level. They get tricky, trust me. Not that I got any wrong or anything!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Starting School: Preparing for Maths Class 2

I hope that you liked my post about “One Mole Digging a Hole”. Did any of you purchase this book yet?! Today’s post continues on from this and gives your child/class more opportunities to count objects.

The Irish Curriculum Guidelines for Junior Infant “Counting” is below:

You can see that your child will be expected to count from 1-10 and to push objects to the side when counting.

This fun fishing game will allow your child to do just this! The numbers are from 1-5 in level one. Level two is the same only the fish are quicker swimmers 😉

The object of Fishin’ Mission is to drag the appropriate number of fish  into the net. The fun bit is catching them!

Click here to play Fishin’ Mission!

Fishin’ Mission will teach or reinforce some vitally important Mathematical Concepts for your child:

Read written numerals

No oral cues are given so your child must read the numerals 1-5 in order to play.


 The number name given to the last object/image tells you how many objects you have counted.

* If you look at the image above you can see that I have placed 4 fish in the net as the  Fisherman shows the numeral 4


Counting words are recited in the correct order each time .

Counting aloud “1, 2, 3, 4, 5″ shows stable order is achieved. Counting aloud” 1, 2, 3, 5, 4″ shows that stable order is not yet achieved.


You cannot put too many fish into the net. Once the correct number is achieved the game accepts this and moves on.  If your child is still hesitant at counting please play the game together. You will need to see and hear that he/she is counting and dragging correctly and not just guessing or randomly dragging the fish! You can help your child be counting aloud together as you drag the fish.

If your child fails to put the correct number into the net before the time runs out the Fisherman will tell you and allow you to have another go!

There is lots of learning potential from Fishin’ Mission. I hope that your child enjoys playing it as he/she prepares for school.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Starting School: Preparing for Maths Class 1

Two of my favourite authors, Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt, combined to create a fantastic children’s book all about numbers! Once you read ” One Mole Digging a Hole” you are sure to fall in love with it!

The entire story is told in rhyme making it enjoyable and appeal to younger readers:

  • One Mole Digging a Hole
  • Two snakes with garden rakes
  • Three bears picking pears
  • Four foxes filling boxes

One Mole Digging a Hole is very cleverly written and actively engages the reader in mathematical learning and activities. Aren’t these illustrations adorable?!


  • Your child will become familiar with both the written numeral and the  number word eg. 2 and two.
  • Children are encouraged to count objects rather than just reciting numbers by rote.
  • The number of butterflies on each page corresponds to the numeral. This gives an additional opportunity to count in one-to-one correspondence.

You may well be thinking that your preschooler is great a numbers and can count to ten and beyond! There is a big difference between counting numbers by rote and having an understanding of number. Your child needs lots of hands on experience counting actual objects or pictures in order to  gain an understanding that each number refers to a set amount or group of objects. This is a prerequisite skill for addition, children must first be able to recognize and create concrete examples to represent numbers.

One to one correspondence is a term that educators refer to frequently. Put simply, one-to-one correspondence is the process of touching one object for each number that is counted aloud: 1 ( point to a butterfly), 2 (point to another butterfly)

On the following page your child can count and point to the pictures that match the text.

One Mole Digging a Hole explores the numbers 1-10. Junior Infants should work with numbers 0-5  with meaning  while Senior Infants cover the numbers 0-10.  You can see these objectives in greater detail below:

There are so many opportunities to expand and explore your child’s mathematical development with this book. Lets look that the snake illustration again.

For example:

  1. Are there more rakes or grapes in the picture above?
  2. What do we see the least of?
  3. What colour patterns are used on the snakes?
  4. Which snake has raked more ground?
  5. Which flower has the most petals and which has the least?
  6. What shapes can you see?
  7. Find the two butterflies that match.

This book is one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books that I own relating to number. I cannot wait to use it with my class next.year. I will be using a “visualizer” so that I can ask the sorts of questions listed above. It is a great oral maths activity.

I purchased my copy in The Book Centre, Waterford for a steal at 2.50Euro! I couldn’t believe my look. If you are not living in the area you could order it from Book Depository for 5.74 Euro instead of the RRP of 8.00 Euro.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Sid the Science Kid: Sorting by colour

I am continuing with the theme of Early Maths Activities for those of you with children starting school this September.  The EMA sorting objectives  ask your child to:

  • classify objects according to one attribute, such as colour, shape, size or texture.

This Sid the Science Kid game focuses on sorting by colour. Sid the Science Kid will ask your child to find the stones and crystals that match a certain colour. Your child then drags and drops them into the appropriate boxes.

I think that this game might appeal to boys as it is not too cute or pink! The outdoor adventurer types might also like it ;).

I am not sure that it is a game that children will want to play over and over again. It is certainly a good match for the sorting objectives of the Irish maths curriculum and is worth a whirl this Summer.

Click here to play

Of course, sorting is something that you can do with your child in the absence of a computer. Why not download and print these sorting mats that I created last year?! There are lots of different types available to download for free.

Click here to download the set

 This one allows your child to sort objects into 4 different categories.

 Here are some additional suggestions for sorting categories:

  • colour (red, yellow, green, blue)
  • farm animals and wild animals
  • big and small
  • hard and soft
  • things that are red and things that are not
  • things I like, things Mom likes and things my sibling like

A “treasure box” is great for this. Just cover a shoe box with some brightly coloured paper and pop in small objects that you find lying around the house. You know what I mean ;).  Those little toys you get in kinder eggs, bits and pieces from Happy Meals, stray pieces of Lego, buttons, ribbon from presents and packages, bottle tops… The things that you never know quite what to do with…

Challenge your child to create categories based on what is inside the box. This is a great way to extend learning. Once your child understands the concept the sky is the limit and it would be restrictive to keep suggesting categories for them.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Early Maths Activity App for iPad & iPhone

If your child is starting school this September or if you teach Junior Infants then this post is for you!

The first aspect of maths that your child will explore in Junior Infants in called “Early Maths Activities”. Here are some of the objects:

The good news is I found an app that matches these objectives perfectly! It is available for use on both  iPads and iPhones.

So here’s the game: Maths, age 3-5

In this game your child is being asked to add similar objects to a clearly defined set on the basis of one attribute. This means adding all of the stars to the star set, all of the balls to the ball set and all of the flowers to the flower set. In the next round your child will be challenged to match objects to defined sets and to create sets to sort the others.

Both of these games more than fulfill the criteria of the Classifying strand above.

In this game your child is being asked to identify the “compliment of a set”. In other words your child needs to indicate the “odd one out”. This fulfills the criteria of the Classifying strand above.

The Comparing strand asks your child to “compare objects according to length, width, height, weight, quantity or size”. In this Maths 3-5 game your child needs to compare the clothing and objects to determine which one belongs to which boy. The object is then dragged and dropped to see if a correct match has been made. Some of these are tricky enough. You really need to concentrate!

In order to succeed at Matching your child need to be confident at matching identical objects and matching pairs of related objects. Maths 3-5 covers both of these!

The picture below shows a game that asks your child to  match related objects to each other such as the umbrella and the rain. Your child needs to do some deep thinking for these ones.

Matching similar objects is a game of Concentration. Children love to play ” Concentration” so this one is sure to be a big hit.

I cannot speak highly enough of these games from Maths 3-5. I am thrilled that I found them. They are a perfect match for our curriculum and fun to play too. The games that I have mentioned are available for free download but they cover much, much more. You can see a list of their games below. The games are very keenly priced. I would love to download and review all of them!

These are very worthwhile game to have your child playing this Summer or even next September. Having some familiarity with the curriculum can help children settle more easily into school. If your child can do all of these with ease then he/she will experience early success in school. This should foster self-esteem and a feeling that they can handle the challenges of Junior Infant life 😉

Have any of you used Maths 3-5 before? If you download the app please leave a comment or send me an email and let all of us know what you think.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Data Handling sheet: We all scream for ice-cream !

Well, it’s supposed to be summer in Ireland… It feels far from it of late. Our sports day was cancelled due to a water logged pitch.  My school tour managed to dodge the rain that had been forecast. We are crossing our fingers for our Fun Day next Wednesday…It seems a little dreary here at times. More like early Autumn if truth be told. I haven’t even had a cone yet this summer.

I am really trying to create a “summer vibe” in my classroom  for our last week of school. As we are finished our maths book I created this ice-cream themed data handling sheet to get us in the mood.

Perhaps your class could do with some summer fun too!

Click here to download 

p.s My favourite is a 99.  Hard to beat ice-cream and chocolate. What is yours?

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂