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Day 5 - Monkeys (creative ideas for teaching English and maths at home)


Ever since Archie was a toddler, monkeys have always been his favourite animal. I am not even sure where this obsession came from, but it was inevitable that this would crop up as a stimulus at some point. Hope you enjoy the ideas.



  • Solve mathematical problems or puzzles

  • Recognise odd and even numbers

  • Add three or four small numbers mentally

One thing that I want to build in my boys is a sense of resilience. I have noticed that, too often, they are quick to throw in the towel and give in. With the stimulus of monkeys as my focus, I set off to create a problem solving activity that would both challenge them and encourage them to think systematically and with diligence. This is an activity I have used with my class in the past.

Activity 1: (with support)

  • Three Monkeys eat a total of 25 nuts.

  • Each monkey eats a different odd number of nuts.

  • How many nuts could each of the monkeys eat?

  • Find as many different answers as you can.

  • Try to record your answers systematically so that you find all the answers (you may need a clue - there are 10 possibilities).

  • You may like to use objects to represent the 25 nuts if it helps.

Activity 2: (independent)

  • What if the monkeys eat 24 nuts, with each of them eating a different even number of nuts?

  • How many ways can this be represented?


Activity 1 - There are 10 possibilities

  • 1,3,21

  • 1,5,19,

  • 1,7,17,

  • 1,9,15

  • 1,11,13,

  • 3,5,17,

  • 3,7,15

  • 3,9,13

  • 5,7,13

  • 5,9,11

Activity 2 - There are 7 possibilities

  • 2,4,8

  • 2,6,16

  • 2,8,14

  • 2,10,12

  • 4,6,14

  • 4,8,12

  • 6,8,10

Here are my boys solving the problems. They needed to be shown how to approach this systematically, but managed to complete activity two independently once they had the skills and correct approach.

Also, due to the success of from earlier in the week, the boys were desperate to do another. Here is Archie' appropriate.



  • News bulletin

  • Formal tone and language

  • Fronted adverbials

  • Technical language

Every day, at 9:30am, Pie Corbett leads a phenomenal live literacy session on If you do not tune into this, please do as it is inspirational and packed full of literacy games, creative ideas, interviews with poets / authors and opportunities to write and publish to a global audience. The following idea is taken from the show earlier this week, where the children were writing breaking news broadcasts about reptiles being seen in local areas. This is the inspiration for today's session - my thanks to Pie for his permission to use and publish his model within this blog.

Breaking News – Crocodile Sighted

We are interrupting this programme to bring you news that a strange reptile has been sighted in Battersea. Local Battersea residents reported this morning that what appears to be an enormous crocodile has been seen chasing cats and dogs. Police have yet to be able to detain the crocodile despite using police dogs. It is believed that the crocodile must have been living in the local sewerage system. Police are currently looking into it. Experts fear that the crocodile may have been breeding in which case other crocodiles may be on the loose. Call 10101010 if you have further news about the Battersea Croc to report.

©Pie Corbett 2020

Using the model above, here are the breaking news reports we wrote, based on a recent monkey escape.

Breaking news - Mischievous Monkey Sighted

We are interrupting this broadcast to bring you news that a mischievous monkey has been sighted in Wrotham Heath. Local residents reported that this troublesome pest has snuck into houses, rummaged through drawers and departed with prize possessions. It is thought that the monkey is now in disguise, dressed in an array of items, including an Easter bonnet and a pair of spotty pants. Police are scouring nearby towns, searching for any evidence that may help detain this critter. Should you come into contact with this cheeky chap, watch out - he may look cute but he is really a naughty ninja! Call 1010101010 if you have anything to report.

by Field Reporter Daddy

Breaking news - Cheeky Monkey Spotted

We are interrupting this news to let you know about a mischievous monkey that has been spotted in the bin at Playful Park. Local villagers reported that they saw a monkey throwing banana skins at everyone in the park, blowing raspberries and playing football. The police have not been able to catch it because it climbed a tree at the edge of the football field, jumped off the other side and escaped. If you see it, call 19028620180 and tell us about it. Warning - watch out - he is very greedy. Back to you in the studio.

by Field Reporter Archie

Breaking news - Naughty Monkey Sighted in Kent Forest

We have to stop the news. Gardens - be aware of the naughty monkey. If the monkey comes to your house, stay calm and call 1234 and wait as we will stop this pest. If it gets a banana, get it iff him before he sprays it at you. Don't forget to duck if he does spray one at you. If you catch sight of the monkey, tell us and we'll give it a place to live at the zoo. As you know, the monkey is quick and the police have not got it so we need you to help us. We have been putting up wanted posters on lamps and poles.

by Field Reporter Joshua


I hope you have enjoyed today's home-schooling in English and maths. If you have, please do follow our blog (or follow me on Twitter) and tune in on Tuesday (after the Easter break) where the stimulus is my son Joshua's choice...Harry Potter

Happy Easter!


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