End of term activities

See also Christmas Resources and Easter.

What to do for those last lessons?

You might want something other than a video, though perhaps consider a Numberphile video or I could make an exception for the counting chimps, a video I was introduced to by Alex Bellos at the SSAT conference which he included in his session and shows the astonishing recall of a chimp – compare the human!

Try some UKMT team challenges, their crossnumber puzzles make a great end of term activity. The junior materials can be found here and senior here.


Relay from Chris Smith

Relays from Chris Smith. These are excellent, note there is a complete set; I used his Valentine relay very successfully this year! Featured in Mathematical Miscellany#2.

JM Quiz & Matchstick PuzzlesFrom JustMaths a great end of year pub quiz. I do like the way this ends with a round of Matchstick puzzles, this will keep our students happily busy! Note the very useful recommendation for Matchstick Puzzles from Dawie van Heerden. Whilst this is currently called Quiz 2017 it will work just as well in 2018.

Get your students thinking with some resources from Underground Mathematics. Try Equation Soduku or perhaps LCM Sudoku.
Equation Sudoku
Another possibility from Underground Maths, try the Division Game.

UGM Division Game
Bingo always works really well.


A team game? Try Workers of Zen.

Workers of Zen

Workers of Zen

(ATM publish books of team games).

I must mention A Little Problem for the Holidays!

Some Mathematical games and puzzles perhaps? There are plenty to choose from. Note that the Jeopardy Games from Math-Play.com are written in HTML5 and work on iPads also.


The Set Game which is a daily puzzle is set in The New York TimesHow many sets can you find? Click ‘How to play’ in the menu on the left for the rules.

Set Game

New York Times – The Set Game

Or try some pencil and paper games such as Sprouts, also from Nrich, see Sprouts Explained.


Nrich – Sprouts

Countdown - Nrich
Always popular with students is the game of  Countdown. Exellent programs for both games can be downloaded free from Chris Farmer’s CSF software site. For a new challenge why not try Coundown with Fractions from Nrich or another variation – see this Countdown collection.

Make 24
On a similar theme try  Make 24 a game where four numbers in the range of the natural numbers 1 to 9 are chosen randomly; these must be combined to obtain the result 24  –  but you may only use the four basic arithmetical operations and brackets. This online version optionally shows solutions as well as presenting random problems. The program will also show solutions for any given set of four numbers.

Learn the syntax for WolframAlpha, perhaps a chance for students to explore WolframAlpha, using the various slideshows, note the questions on the worksheet. Note the last slideshow on a little fun with WolframAlpha!

Explore the Desmos Graphing Calculator (and note the further reference to Desmos below, use Desmos to create some art work!)

For a main activity a Tarsia puzzle provides an engaging activity. I intend to use one to see how many of the formulae needed for the part of the course which my Year 10 students (age 14-15) will be studying next year are already known.

Darth Vader curve

Darth Vader-like curve on WolframAlpha

We could, of course, have some fun with WolframAlpha. Did you know you can plot Darth-Vader?  There are in fact a whole family of Star Wars curves! Or maybe you prefer Dr Who?!

Try more unusual queries with WolframAlpha!  How many pizzas would it take to fill the moon? Or Jupiter?

PacMan by Alec Schultz on Desmos

Art Elements

Get creative on Desmos

If those WolframAlpha equations are a bit much for younger students they could try something simpler using the Desmos graphing calculator; look at Alec Schultz’s PacMan for example, you could just show your students how to restrict the domain for straight lines, maybe show them the equation of a circle and see what they can produce! See this post on Graph Art on Mathematics for Students.


Spirograph on Desmos

To generate some more pretty curves why not try Spirograph?! Students could experiment with these online versions to see the various curves that can be generated.

On the subject of Art, perhaps try some of Clarissa Grandi’s wonderful, fully resourced mathematical Art lessons.

Artful Maths

Clarissa Grandi – Artful Maths

Penrose Triangle

Perhaps try Clarissa’s lesson on Impossible Objects (scroll down  to the third lesson, Impossible Objects).

All the Resources you need are provided, including a presentaion containing a selection of images of ‘impossible objects’; and very clear printable instructions for constructing three different types. The instructions are taken from the 1985 SMP 11-16 booklet ‘Impossible Objects’ a direct link to the instructions is provided.

These logic puzzles from John Pratt should keep students happily and usefully occupied. (I have added these to the Puzzles page on Mathematics Games.) Or we could try another Kakuro Puzzlestudents were fascinated by these when introduced to the puzzles by a member of the class. At the end of the year we often ask students to do a presentation to their peers which works well.

Try (or write a new) Sporkle Quiz.

Sporkle: Find the missing primes in two minutes

Sporkle: Find the missing primes in two minutes

Still thinking about games, from Nrich these Strategy games are for Primary teachers; but could also be useful for lower secondary.

Don’t forget all the excellent free apps available. Note MEI’s Sumaze for example, from Naoki Inaba we have Area Maze.

Area Maze

Area Maze

Sumaze poster

We could finish with a song or two!

Wishing teachers everywhere a happy holiday (only WolframAlpha would give you the Scrabble score and more as well as the definition!)

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