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Odds and Evens

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Mathematical Foundations

Topics covered:
Problem Solving
Odd and Even Numbers
Sharing out and halving

Equipment needed:
Between 10 and 20 identical counters, pieces of pasta, buttons, mini rice cakes or sweets (if you;re feeling particularly nice)
Two of your child's favourite toys (teddy bears, dolls, action figures)

This activity will help with problem solving and counting as well as look at the difference between odd and even numbers. Remembering which numbers are odd and even at this point is not important at all. This activity explores which numbers can be halved and which cannot. You can even extend it to introduce the concept of a half as well.

Use 4 counters and ask your child to share them out fairly between the two toys. Check that both toys have the same number of counters by asking your child to count them both. Talk about why they have been shared out 'fairly.'

Start again but this time use 5 counters. Ask your child why it could not be done this time. Experiment with different numbers of counters and keep a record of the ones that can be shared out/halved fairly (even numbers) and those that cannot (odd numbers).

Key Questions to ask:

"What does 'fairly' mean?"
"Why can't you halve 5?"
"Which numbers can you share out fairly?"
"Which numbers can you not share out fairly?"
"What do you know about even numbers?"
"What do you know about odd numbers?"
"Can you tell me some even numbers?"
"Can you tell me some odd numbers?"


Use something edible that can be broken in half (mini rice cakes, chocolate buttons). Ask your child to share out 3 chocolate buttons fairly between the two toys. If they have understood the activity they may say, "It can't be done as it is an odd number."

Ask your child if there is any way they could share out the 3 chocolate buttons so that both toys get to eat the same amount of chocolate. See if they think to break one in half. Then you can even count these are one and a half each. Experiment with other odd numbers.


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