For: Primary Children

Age 4 – 6


Low threshold high ceiling

This hands-on activity will have young mathematicians grouping, sharing and counting as divide 14 bones between five dogs.

What you will need:
  • Pencils
  • Paper

In these difficult times, you may not have all the material suggested. You may need to adapt these activities to suit your needs and materials available. For instance, you could draw out the dogs and bones. Maybe your kids could think of ways of adapting and improvising. This is valuable skills development.



14 bones per pair of pupils, five dogs


Grouping and sharing, counting


Each pair of pupils need 14 bones and five dogs. Ask pupils to share the bones so that each dog has at least two. Change the number of bones that each dog has the next time and ask pupils to explore.


Did each dog get the same amount? Why not? Explain to me and show me how you shared the bones.

Challenge Questions:

·      How many would you need so that each dog has the same amount?

·      This dog was greedy and took six of the bones. What does that mean for the other dogs?

1.    Change the number of dogs and bones as appropriate. Ensure that there will not always be equal sharing.

2.    Encourage pupils to apply logic, for example, if three, three, three, two and one are 12, then three, three, three, one and one are 11 because I took one away from the two. 11 is one less than 12.

3.    Encourage pupils to check if there is another way to distribute the bones. Have you found all possible ways? How do you know?

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