I left out some egg characters, alongside an invitation to “Make your own Maths”. I had drawn the eggs on a whiteboard, with corresponding numbers that were all multiples of 10.

multiple is a number that can be divided by another number (in this case 10) without a remainder.


  • Egg characters
  • Log slices with +, – and + written on
  • Whiteboard with corresponding numbers
  • Base Ten Set
  • Numicon


I wanted this to be an open ended activity, so that they could play and learn in their own way. Intentionally, I gave them no instructions, or expectations, of what to do with the numbers and the eggs, but supported them where needed and extended them where there was an opportunity.

Counting in 10s

Ioan recognised that the eggs represented the numbers on the whiteboard and explained to Finn that they could put the 10s in order. Once they’d finished I asked Finn if he could count up in 10s, then Ioan to count backwards in 10s.

Bunny plus pig (30 + 60)

Ioan was the first to recognise that they could do addition with the eggs. He started off by adding the bunny and pig. He went off to collect his Base Ten set, then talked Finn through the process. Ioan’s getting much better at checking that he’s got the right number of ten rods, he’s learnt from experience that it’s much better to check as you go along, rather than wait until the end.

Bird plus chick (20 + 40)

Again, Ioan used the ten rods to work out two tens plus four tens. This time, he worked out that his answer of 60 was the same value as the pig, so he was able to do the whole sum with animals.

Cat plus bird (10 + 20)

Finn chose a cat and bird to add. He fetched his Numicon to work with. Finn knew the total of 10 and 20 was 30, then went on to show me that you could make 30 out of three tens, or six fives.

After taking the video, Ioan encouraged Finn to find an animal that was equal to his answer of 30. Finn proudly added a dog to his sum, above his Numicon 30.

Cat plus bird plus chick (10 + 20 + 40)

Ioan counted up his ten rods and had seven, which he knew was 70. That meant his sum was cat + bird + chick = dog.

Lamb plus dog (50 + 70)

It was windy outside, so we had trouble with the sound at the end of this video. Ioan re-filmed the end inside.

Ioan’s answer of 120 was too big to be represented by any of the animals on their own. He wanted to have two animals after the equals sign, that equalled 120.

The cow was the biggest number on the whiteboard, it represented 80. He took 80 from his total of 120, then placed it under the cow. He spotted that the remaining ten rods equalled 40, which was the same value as the chick.

That meant that lamb plus dog, equalled, cow plus chick.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Numeracy Year 1 programme of study

Number – measurements

  • count to and across 100, forwards and backwards, beginning with 0 or 1, or from any given number
  • count and read numbers to 100 in numerals; count in multiples of tens

Number – addition and subtraction

  • read, write and interpret mathematical statements involving addition (+) and equals (=) signs