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 canbe found here and senior here. Another great source is the resources from Math-Team-Matics a competition which was from Grand Valley State University, you can see problems here so you could try any of these activities in class. The individual test has multiple choice questions. I like the look of the 2013 team challenge – a combination of staircases and painted cubes with surface area thrown in as well!

On Transum Mathematics – a whole collection of End of Term Maths, in several different categories, a brilliant collection, do take a look. Included in the Memorable Term End category, I do like Manifest. I see from The Transum site that the concept for the game Manifest comes from Frank Tapson, and was mentioned in Don Steward’s Median, in his post, manifest.


Relay from Chris Smith

Relays from Chris Smith. These are excellent, note there is a complete set.

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 any year!

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!


The Set Game which is a daily puzzle is set in The New York Times. How 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. Excellent programs for both games can be downloaded free from Chris Farmer’s CSF software site. For a new challenge why not try Countdown with Fractions from Nrich or another variation – see this Countdown collection.

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 artwork!)

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 presentation 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

You may have tried the Sporke site with its extensive collection of timed quizzes.
There are several mathematics quizzes available. It is also possible to create your own quizzes, give the link to your friends and see how they do!
Can you give all the missing prime numbers in 2 minutes or less?
Can you square the numbers from 1 to 25 in 2 minutes or square the numbers from 1 to 50 in 4 minutes?!

Can you get the correct answers to 60 simple calculations in 1 minute? A mistake will end the quiz.

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

From Dr Frost comes this non-maths end of year general knowledge quiz put together by the Department.

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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