Number shapes investigation

Constructing shapes and exploring number patterns (in collaboration with Magic Mathworks Travelling Circus)

Key stage: 2
Subjects: mathematics, shapes, patterns


Mathematics is the search for pattern. For children of primary age there are few places where this search can be more satisfyingly pursued than in the field of figurate numbers - numbers represented as geometrical shapes.

In these activities, pupils are encouraged to construct and compare series of 2d shapes to find the following:

  • Add a pair of consecutive natural numbers and you get an odd number; add the consecutive odd numbers and you get a square number.
  • Add the consecutive natural numbers and you get a triangular number; add a pair of consecutive triangular numbers and you also get a square number.

Teachers should read through the activity ideas and make their own risk assessment for them before proceeding with them in the classroom.

Related content