Pirate Maths

This week in my Year 4 maths set I have been experimenting with the idea of basing all the activities within a story as a way of engaging and enthusing the children.

On Tuesday the children were given a treasure map with 10 crosses marked on it and a set of 5 numbers below. They were given a short period of time to try and work out that the numbers referred to the distance between the crosses that would reveal the path the pirates took to bury their treasure. After measuring the spaces between the crosses the children eventually found the “X that marks the Spot” where the treasure was buried.

In the next lesson the children had found the treasure and now had to return to their island safely. Unfortunately there are rival pirates around. They played a version of battleships in which they drew 5 Pirate ships in one half of their maths books and their opponent drew anothe 5 in the other half. They then had to estimate the distance between their ships and the enemies. If their estimate was correct they scored a hit otherwise their cannonballs missed. Each hit earned them a point and the first to 5 points won.

In the next lesson they had managed to get their treasure back to their island and they needed to bury it safely. So they made their version of the treasure map. They marked 5 different crosses on their map and I asked them to accurately measure the distance between the crosses in centimetres and millimetres.

In the final lesson they were able to share the treasure out. I told them that the treasure chest contained 64 pieces of gold and that they had to be able to share it out evenly amongst their pirate friends. if any pirate got more than any one else the others would not be happy and they would make him walk the plank. So the children had to use their times tables knowledge to work out how many different ways 64 could be shared – such as 4 pirates would get 16 pieces of gold each or 16 pirates would get 4 pieces of gold each.

The children all seemed excited and enthused by the ‘story’ and worked well and were eager for the next lesson.


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