Practical Maths for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

Exploring practical maths for Key stage 1 and key stage 2

Using our unique system of magnetic gutters, wheels and switches and water, balls or other materials.  Children can investigate a whole host of practical maths in the KS1 and Ks2 maths curriculum.

There are some obvious areas of the Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2 maths curriculum that Moti-Lab can focus on just using water – such as volume, full, empty, more, less, capacity or ball games for simple addition, subtraction, place value etc.  

However due to the open ended nature of Moti-Lab the possibilities of exploring maths in a practical way are almost endless and really up the imagination of the teacher and the children themselves – and we currently have over 80 adaptable curriculum focused lesson plans.

All our experiments, games and activities have a mathematical focus directly linked to KS1 and KS2 Maths Curriculum.

The colour coded gutters themselves are designed at different lengths (1, ¾, ½ and ¼  or if you take away the longest ones – 1, ⅔ and ⅓).  For example fun maths challenges can be set and tested;

  • “Can you find 3 different ways of making a run that is 2 ½ lengths long?”

The gutters also give innumerable opportunities for measuring exercises in whatever format you choose be it pencil lengths or in mm and the learning extended to investigate ratios, scaling and proportion.

Explore angles with simple experiments such as “How fast does the ball travel 1 metre with a run set at 0°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75° and 90° from horizontal?”

This can easily be simplified for younger learners – by introducing concepts of shallow, steeper, steepest and their relationship to slow, faster, fastest!  Great for learning mathematical vocabulary especially for students with English as an Additional Language.

Learn about symmetry by building symmetrical runs – and test them with a ball!

Timing exercises are easily facilitated giving rise to more complex learning around speed or simple concepts of fast and slow.

The wheels can also be used in simple exercises (number of spins) to more complex maths concepts such as averages. For example:

Y5 practical maths experiment KS2

Exploring Efficiency – Y5s results when building an increasingly efficient system expressed in numbers and percentages!

  • Build a run with the wheel at the bottom; Test it! How many rotations of the wheel for 1 watering can full of water? How many would it be for 5? Let’s test it! Record the results – work out the average. How many spins should we get with 10 watering cans? Let’s test it!

We have even had Y6 maths pupils using Pi to work out the distance travelled by the wheel and speed in Metres per Second!

Recording Results and Evaluation

KS2 maths investigation into the speed of slime showing exponential curve in results

Within all these experiments and games the wall itself can be used as a whiteboard to record results, make predictions and use the results to plot graphs or charts and tables to visualise and analyse their answer to the challenge.

When used with several groups the whiteboard can be used to bring together the different sets of results for analysis and peer review.  Through this anomalies can be spotted and a consensus on learning brought about.

Moti-Lab  gives children the ability to explore abstract mathematical concepts with concrete examples and through practical applications.

You will be able to take these abstract concepts and make them real!

Giving children not only a better understanding of the concepts but a real reasons as to why they are important and why they need to be learned.

The mathematical benefits of Moti-Lab will really add to your provision.  As the children are immersed in this risk free learning it will lead to deepening understanding, improved reasoning skills and many other positive outcomes.

All this is contained in a multi sensory learning environment producing amazing results particularly for those children who aren’t suited to traditional class based learning.

Curriculum Focused

All children ages 2-11 and beyond will love learning with Moti-Lab but it needs to deliver real and measurable learning outcomes.  For this we have teamed up Sheffield Hallam Institute of Education and other academic partners to bring teachers the background resources needed to help teach Mathematics in a fun and engaging manner.

Abstract mathematical concepts can be some of the hardest subjects to teach in primary and so we are producing learning guides and lesson plans specifically designed for the Key Stages 1 and 2 curriculum.  The guides can be used as a general overview of learning outcomes or lesson plans adhered to more strictly for teachers who prefer that style.

Each guide will give pointers on what the specific learning outcomes are and where the tasks fit into the curriculum, as well as guides to adapting the teaching for different age groups or abilities.

Moti-Lab learning guides also come with suggestions for background learning resources or further learning if the themes really capture the imagination of the kids.

See some examples here.

Exploring maths through science ks1 and ks2

KS2 Maths Curriculum focused teaching resources

Teaching Resources and CPD

At Moti-Lab we want to engage teachers and make teaching STEM fun, accessible and effective.  We will be supporting teachers through videos of experiments – these can be accessed at anytime saving precious time on preparation.  Have a look at, and please subscribe, to our YouTube channel here to see some of the experiments you can do on Moti-Lab.

We also want teachers to become involved in the Moti-Lab concept.  It’s open ended nature means that teachers are able to innovate with what they can use Moti-Lab to teach.

Teachers are in a best position to judge what is effective and can come up with their own lesson ideas for Moti-Lab and you can be sure that we will share these freely with other Moti-Lab users.

If you’d like to share your ideas and successful lessons please do so by joining and liking our facebook page here or tweeting us here. Once we’ve had a look and checked for duplication we will add them to our growing archive of learning resources, these can be accessed by all users of Moti-Lab for free and for life.  Who knows you might win a prize for your school.

Get involved!

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