Platypus puzzlers

Platypus puzzlers © Markus Gebauer

Use the story of How the platypus got his shape to get children creatively engaged with number, algebra, sets and symmetry with some great contextual maths.

Estimate, count and check (KS1)

Once you’ve read How the platypus got his shape a few times and the children have re-told it in their own words, ask them if they can remember how many different animals are mentioned in the story. Ask them to estimate the number and write it down. Emphasise that it doesn’t matter if they can’t remember exactly – they should just guess. Now ask the children to go back through the story and carefully count up all the animals that are mentioned. There are nine different animals: Platypus, Wombat, Kangaroo, Kookaburra, parrots, koalas, snakes, lizards, flying foxes. Once they’ve counted the animals, they should check the actual number against their estimate. How close were the class estimates?  Can the children think of other things in the story that they could make estimates about? For example:

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Start your topic with How the platypus got his shape, an Antipodean creation tale that looks at friendship and supplies the perfect context for looking at Australia. 


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