Making Maths unBoring!



Sometimes Mathematics needs to be unboring. I feel sorry for the classroom teacher who has to manage all the boring mathematics stuff as a matter of course. Sometimes it is important to pick the fun stuff. This is an activity that has a real skill development as well as a good fun element. You know the mathematics concept of graphing requires tally marks and keeping score and drawing graphs – Good grief, I am falling asleep already. The kids will love this activity – well they do when I use it. I have used this activity with a group of upper primary kids but, honestly, this could be applied to any class up to senior secondary.

Australian Curriculum Links:

  • Identify questions or issues for categorical variables. Identify data sources and plan methods of data collection and recording (ACMSP068)
  • Identify and investigate issues involving numerical data collected from primary and secondary sources(ACMSP169)


  1. Don’t teach the skill of the mathematics involved at first. I simply tell the kids to count the number of times they hear the words Al, Alan and Steve. The mathematics? Well they had to work out the maths involved themselves at the start.
  1. Watch This 50 second YouTube Video   If you need to know how to download YouTube videos CLICK HERE. (Remember copyright won’t you?)
  2. As the students watch, they must count the number of times they hear Alan, Al and Steve.
  3. Simple you say? Well just try it.
  4. Have students work in groups to compare strategies and answers. Have them explain why there is such a difference.
  5. Repeat as necessary  until most of the group get the correct answer.
  6. Try splitting into groups of three. One count Al, one on Alan and one on Steve.


  1. Graph the results



  • There is no assessment of this particular lesson but it could be incorporated into any data assessment instrument.




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