Observation: Notice and Wonder

A pack of cards? To help you learn maths? What kind of maths?

This is the kind of maths that starts with what you notice and what you wonder!

Quick Start

What you need to play

  • 1 pack of cards

Set Up

Set up

Take a few cards from the pack. Look at them until you notice something that you hadn't noticed before or until a question about them comes to you.

How to Play

How to Play

You are just looking at card(s) and either saying what you see or asking a question that comes up. This is perhaps the most important skill in maths. Maths is about patterns. Patterns are often hidden in plain sight but can be uncovered by observations and questions.

  1. Look at one or more cards. Turn them over. Look for similarities and differences.
  2. What is similar about these cards? What is different?
  3. How do they compare to your expectations about cards, colours, numbers?
  4. Try to come up with:
    • something obvious that you notice
    • something that you notice that you think most people won't see
    • a question that everyone is likely to ask
    • a question that few people will think of

What maths are we practising?

Maths can be defined as the study of differences in similar things and similarities in different things. Our observations allow us to:

  1. be aware of different levels of observations. Comparisons often have less obvious things to notice or ask about.
  2. see what is important and connect new observations and questions with previous ones. The more you notice the more you can notice
  3. connect to our intuition to do with patterns and numbers by trusting our observations and questions rather than judging them.

By prioritising what you and your child see, you are setting the stage for confidence in their ability and position as a mathematician. Observations are about them, not about what others think or how others compare.