General Thinking and Problem Solving Activities

While not specific to NQ/FNQ, these activities are great for stimulating the ways of thinking required for general problem solving.


Numbers and Algebra

» Order of Operations: The Four Fours Challenge

Try this challenge as a great way to consolidate students’ knowledge of the order of operations. Multiple solutions for this challenge can be found on the web.

Download The Four Fours Challenge  (PDF, 62 KB)


Measurement and Geometry

» Area, Perimeter: Playing with Pentominoes

This worksheet can be completed by students to show how areas and perimeters are not directly proportional. Students will need 5 squares of equal size (small tiles are great) to create as many pentominoes as possible at the start of the activity. Students can use the template to create a set of 12 pentominoes.

Download Playing with Pentominoes  (PDF, 114 KB)


Problem Solving

» The Golden Apples

This problem is adapted from the book called “Fostering Algebraic Thinking” by Mark Driscoll. It is designed to develop students’ algebraic thinking.

Download The Golden Apples  (PDF, 122 KB)

» 16 Questions

A set of sixteen challenging questions for Year 5/6 extension students. Print them up as cards for students to choose.

Download 16 Questions  (PDF, 252 KB)

» Modelling activities for an amusement park

A paper published in the Journal of Mathematical Modelling and Application that describes how to set up modeling activities based on amusement park rides.

Access Journal Article

» 'Hidden Figures' movie lesson

This lesson plan uses the movie Hidden Figures as stimulus. Students learn what it is like to 'make new mathematics' when 'there is no formula', and experience what it takes to use mathematics they are familiar with (e.g. shapes, graphs) to solve a new problem: communicating with someone who can't see what you see, and can't ask any questions.

Download Hidden Figures  (PDF, 263 KB)

» Going to the Show

Activities developed by an NQ teacher for maths students attending the Cairns Annual Show.