Skip to main content

< Back to: Activities

Mega Messy Maths

Learning Objectives


  • Understand how the outdoor environment can used to develop mathematical skills
  • Solve one and two step problems involving numbers, measures, percentages
  • Add and subtract mentally pairs of two digit whole numbers
  • Create a range of 2-D Shapes
  • Read, choose, use and record standard metric units


  • Use the eight compass points to describe direction
  • Work independently and in groups, taking on different roles and collaborating towards common goals
  • Learn safely in a new environment

Key words/phrases

Estimate, compass, metres per second, percentage, equilateral, isosceles and scalene triangles, line/mirror symmetry, volume, cubic centimetres, metres


Centre staff will welcome your group and describe the day’s programme, learning objectives, and the health and safety issues. (10 mins)

½ Day Course Programme

  • Activity: “Maths APP Orienteering”. Based around the centre grounds, this activity may be used to help gather evidence or to confirm APP judgements (20 mins)
  • Activity: “On the hoof”. Questions asked as the group heads to the woods e.g. estimate how many steps to the fence? White boards provided (10 mins)
  • Activity: “Tree girth” Pupils are blindfolded and taken to a tree, when they re-find the tree after the blindfold is taken off, they try to guess the circumference (10 mins)
  • Activity: “Maths Challenge”. Points are rewarded for a variety of tasks e.g. For 2 points create a pattern that shows a shape with two lines of symmetry (15 mins)
  • Walk to river (10 mins)
  • Activity: “How fast is fast”. Measuring the speed of the river (15 mins)
  • Activity: “Messy Maths”. Whilst in the river pupils use a range of containers to estimate volumes (15 mins)
  • Return to centre (10 mins)

Other activities can be included or omitted at the discretion of the visiting staff.

Detailed activity sheets can be found in the Maths in the Environment curriculum material. Copies available at the centre.


Back at the Centre the group will reflect on their day and consider how well the learning objectives have been met.

Safety Considerations

Weather Conditions and clothing

Some outdoor clothing and footwear is available at the Centre but please ensure that children are dressed warmly and have suitable waterproof outerwear. Activities will take place in all but the most severe weather conditions. The centre teacher will contact the group leader if conditions are unsafe for the visit to continue.

Even though the river is shallow the pupils invariably get wet feet, so spare socks and trousers should be brought.

We have a large supply of Wellington boots at the centre, but if pupils bring their own it speeds up the start of the session.

Equipment supplied

Maps for orienteering and APP questions, tape measures, blindfolds, white boards, stop watches, floats, variety of containers, first aid kit.

Equipment needed from school


Other Information

The actual programme may vary depending on the number and needs of pupils, length of visit and weather conditions.


The APP Orienteering can be assessed from Level 2 – 5 with the questions composed by Leading Maths Teachers in Nottinghamshire. The maths challenge activity has a range questions that are used dependent on the ability of the pupils.