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NSW Syllabuses

Stage 1 - Activity 1

Chelsea at the Zoo

Description of activity

Students are given a scenario and respond by recording their solutions using words and/or pictures.

  1. The teacher presents the following scenario:
    'Chelsea went to the zoo. She was looking forward to seeing the monkeys but they were all hiding in two trees. The zoo keeper told Chelsea there were ten monkeys.'

    The teacher then poses the following question:
    ‘How many monkeys could there have been in each tree?’
  2. Students record their solutions informally, using words and/or pictures. Materials are provided for the students to use if required.

The suggested time allocation for this activity is 15 minutes.


Students have practised making combinations to 10 using a variety of materials and recording the combinations informally using drawings, numerals, words and symbols. Students have combined two or more groups of objects to model addition using the terms ‘add’, ‘plus’, ‘equals’, ‘is equal to’, ‘take away’, ‘minus’, and ‘the difference between’. Students have posed problems that can be solved using addition and subtraction and have used a range of mental strategies to find a solution.


MA1-5NA uses a range of strategies and informal recording methods for addition and subtraction involving one- and two-digit numbers
MA1-18SP recognises and describes the element of chance in everyday events
MA1-8NA creates, represents and continues a variety of patterns with numbers and objects
MA1-1WM describes mathematical situations and methods using everyday and some mathematical language, actions, materials, diagrams and symbols
MA1-2WM uses objects, diagrams and technology to explore mathematical problems
MA1-3WM supports conclusions by explaining or demonstrating how answers were obtained

Criteria for assessing learning

(These criteria would normally be communicated to students with the activity.)
Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • use informal methods to record addition and/or subtraction facts
  • explore mathematical problems using mental strategies, objects, diagrams and/or imagery
  • describe a given situation using mathematical language, symbols and/or diagrams.

Graded student work samples - MID STAGE

Grade - BGrade - C
Grade - DGrade - E