Coins and Plastic

We were busy purchasing new items for the NW004 today, specifically to do with mathematics and I was told an interesting fact!


Did you know that to buy one hundred plastic pennies it costs £1.26! Yes, you heard that right – it would be cheaper to actually use one hundred real pennies!

Staying with pennies – or in this case big counters – here is this week’s puzzle. Arrange six counters or coins in two lines, the same as in image one.

The initial set up for the coins/counters

The initial set up for the coins/counters

Now, what you have to do is change the shape from these two lines to a circle (see image 2) by moving only three coins/counters. However, you are only allowed to slide the coins, no picking them up, and when you move them you are not allowed to move any of the others – so be careful!

This is the finished shape.

This is the finished shape.

If you were using this as a mental/oral starter or activity within the class room, what would be the relevance to mathematics?

The discussion between children would be key here, while they explain and provide reasons for their choices and which coin/counter they move and where they move it to. Also, how would they record the information? There is nothing worse than completing a puzzle just to forget how you did it. These are all important skills for the using and applying strand of mathematics.

Let me know if you manage to complete it!