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I started my love letter to Numicon with 5 ways that I use Numicon. I love it so much it features in many of my TpT maths products.

In this post, I continue my adoration by sharing even more ways to use Numicon in your Maths lessons, that may not be as well known. It isn’t just for those Number concepts so let’s head over to the Space, Shape, Measure curriculum and see how we can use these beautiful plates in even more ways.

Numicon for coin value

One of my favourite unexpected ways to use the plates is with money. Yes really! I do try and use real pennies, well real versions of all the coins, when teaching the money syllabus. Nowadays, with the advent of contactless and chip and pin payments, children rarely see or touch actually coins and notes! To increase understanding of coin value, and start to introduce the coin exchange (10 pennies for a 10p) try using one penny on each Numicon hole for a 5 or 10 plate and then “exchanging” for other coins of this value. It is a really effective way for children to see their value and banish the commonly held misconceptions of both:

  • The coin value depends on its size (meaning a 5p is worth less than a 1p).
  • And each coin is worth 1.

Numicon for doubling

As you may well have gathered, one of my core beliefs is that the more practical an activity is the better it will be! Doubling and Numicon are just a wonderful combination for me. Try putting a mirror next to a plate of Numicon showing the children they now have two of the same or double and allowing them to count both the real and reflected holes to find a total.

Or try making biscuits with a plate as a cookie cutter. Then you can show the children you have two identical shapes one edible! Then when decorating the biscuits, count the bumps on the biuscuit, then add the number of chocolate buttons you add – it is a double. Just like on herecomethegirls blog.

more ways with numicon

And repeat the counting and recording process. I like to extend the children to start thinking about halves too when the mirror is taken away or the biscuit is eaten! You can also use playdough for this in a very similar manner, and with less time waiting for things to cook… Then use your practical representations to start recording number sentences for doubling, halves and more!

Numicon and Symmetry

After an explanation of the word and some good, clear examples of symmetry, dunk a Numicon plate in paint, and then print onto paper twice what has happened? Does it look the same on both sides? When there is a visual for the children to see and compare with an example, they will be able to understand symmetry much more quickly as they can see non examples. I would then demonstrate again with a painting that does have a line of symmetry in it. Then children can investigate how to make a painting with a line of symmetry in it (challenge them to make with 2 or more once they are secure with the concept) using the plates and the paint. A final way to ensure that their understanding is firm and secure? Use the Numicon plates to investigate which have lines of symmetry and ask the children to record the results in a sensible way. What do they have in common? What do the non-symmetrical plates have in common? Is there any commonality?

more ways with numicon

On the blog LearnwithMissW, she outlines the use of Numicon to understand symmetry perfectly. Although I just noticed that the pink pieces aren’t quite right in the photo above. See how hard a concept it is?

Numicon and weighing

more ways with numicon

This is one of my favourite lesser known Numicon facts the plates can be weighed. Yeah, wow, you can put anything on the scales Zoë, not impressive. Until you find out that the plates are specially balanced to represent their value. Yup. Place two 4 plates on one side of the scales and one 8 plate on the other and IT WILL BALANCE! So not only can you use Numicon for weighing, but also to complete

  • Addition
  • Balancing equations (which number is missing?)
  • Missing numbers
  • Greater than, Less than and equal to (< = >)
  • Comparing numbers
  • Exchanging tens for ones, and vice versa.

Numicon and tessellation

Can they use the plates to create a specific shape? Why? Why not? Then move to asking children whether they can use one type of plate to fill a baseboard, and explain their results. I love to do this as my introduction to tessellation and shape properties, and also link it to odd and even numbers or symmetry too. I also find that younger kids love to learn crazy hard terminology such as “tessellation”!

Numicon for visualising percentages

The baseboard has 100 holes, percentages are looking at a proportion out of a 100. You see where I am going here, right?

Use the baseboard to create the percentages, and they then allow learners to see the “missing” percentage too. Children can apply number bond knowledge and use this as a way to start solving word problems involving percentages too.

Bonus tip: This is also a great way to represent and introduce decimals. The whole board represents 1 and so the 100 holes can represent the decimal parts of the whole. Or use one 10 piece and each hole represents 0.1.

more ways with Numicon

As I mentioned in Numicon part 1 improve your Numicon use and do some personal CPD with these videos that cater for all Primary year groups and are just the right length to be informative, but not longwinded.

And if you are still unsure about investing in the game changing Numicon system – don’t forget that Oxford Owl offer some free Numicon shapes to print out on just 1 page here that allow you to try most of the ideas out without spending more than the colour printing.

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Please note that some of these links contain affiliate links which means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission for any sales of the product. For more information read my disclosure policy.

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