Lesson ideas – shape maths

As our current topic in Year 4 is castles, I found this great maths adventure book called Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter


I thought this would be a great way to begin work on area and perimeter with my class (although the book does go on to some pretty high level maths that I won’t be covering). The book begins with a lady playing a game of Inners and edges, using square tiles. I got the children to replicate the game using multi link cubes, then asked them to record their findings in their books.

‘Miss?’ Asks a child, ‘can’t we just take a photograph of the cubes and upload it onto Showbie with the number of Inners and edges written on?’

Good thinking Batman! Within a minute I had the assignment folder created on Showbie and the pictures began to arrive!


5 more minutes and the photos were up on my Smartboard for the children to peer assess. What tips did they have for making sure they’d counted all the ‘edges’?

Feeding back was simple – including showing children visually how to check using my annotations on their photos:


As we reviewed the children’s work, someone spotted a pattern – the number of ‘edges’ was always even! Why could this be? What do you think would happen if we tried it with triangular tiles? Let me know on Showbie – text and voice predictions and explanations soon arrived in my ‘inbox’



We then followed this up with an investigation into triangular and hexagonal tiles, with the focus moving to working systematically, finding patterns and predicting what would come next. Of course, we then went back to the original learning intention of finding area and perimeter.

Again the learning here was enhanced by the use of the iPad with children using Smart Notebook to make and manipulate shapes and use the highlighter tool to check which edges they had counted:

So how did the technology improve the learning?

First off, it was a great bit of creative thinking from the child who suggested using the iPad to record the work in the first place. This was much quicker than taking rulers and pencils and drawing representations of the cubes in the children’s books.

Secondly, the work was available instantly on my Smartboard for peer review. Without this element to the lesson, I doubt the children would have spotted the pattern (I hadn’t!). This meant the learning was child led and the next lesson was based around getting the children to work in ways they hadn’t done today (systematically, using tables, explaining their predictions using mathematical thinking).

Thirdly, assessment. When working with shapes, we used to have to take photographs of children working to stick in their books as evidence. This was time consuming in the least! With their own device children can take their own pictures and using Showbie or another file management app can store these. The joy of Showbie is that is so easy to feedback on, including taking the children’s original photo to annotate.

I was really pleased with the outcomes for the children, and all this because of the creative use of ipads which is being developed in my classroom!



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