Maths at the Museum Problem Solving Remote Learning Activity

Remote Activity, £60 per class, KS2

A series of mathematical problems have been set across The 1900s Town at the museum. The presenter will lead the children through the problems in a step-by-step fashion, explaining the imperial measuring systems as they are encountered in the exhibition spaces. Problems will be set according to the ability of the children, some will need to be solved then and there and others set and then returned to later.

Various exhibition spaces will be visited: the bank for £ s d and interest rates, the garage for shapes as well as yd ft in, the Co-op for st lb oz and shopping lists, the thermometer outside the printers for Kelvin and Celsius, the printers for the cost of adverts in the newspaper and the tram stop for time.

Alongside the mathematical problem solving, there is lots to learn about the exhibits and the history of the North East!

The children will learn:

  • How to solve mathematical problems.
  • What the imperial measurements were and how to calculate using them.
  • How people carried out calculations in the past (without calculators!)

Please note that the supervisor with the children will have an active role to play to support the children as they solve the problems.

  • Target Age: Key Stage 2
  • Cost: £60
  • Duration: One hour
  • Group Size: Full class (has been delivered to more than one class at the same time)
  • Season: All year round

Guidelines for Teachers

Preparing for the Zoom activity: It is strongly recommended that supervising staff should test the connection between the museum and classroom before the session. Contact Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, email to make arrangements for this (details below).  The Beamish presenter only needs to be able to hear the children in order to make the activity work. Some classes have used the chat facility to ask questions and say their answers.


  • Use of an effective microphone has been beneficial but not essential to the success of the Zoom activity, otherwise children can come up to the laptop to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what to do, or the chat facility can be used.
  • The mathematical problems can be printed out for the children beforehand and passed around as they are revealed.
  • The presenter will set the problems and then give time for the children to solve them. The presenter will listen in to the conversation taking place in the classroom and will give hints and explanations according to how the children are responding.
  • There may be localised school rules that the presenter may not be aware of regarding online activities for the children, it is important that these are discussed beforehand so everybody is clear about how the session will be delivered.
  • The mathematical questions will be sent to the supervisor before the online session takes place, the questions will be adapted and changed according to the ability of the children and the suggestions the supervisor makes. Some will be easy introductions and the harder questions will build on from previously-set questions in the activity.

Outline of activity:

The presenter (in period costume) will start the session outside the bank on The 1900s Town street at the museum. They will explain how the session will be organised, introducing some of the concepts to be encountered. The presenter will briefly show the children the street scene and show them some of the buildings.

Then the presenter will travel around the various exhibits showing the children the problems, while they solve them as they go. The children will interact with the presenter, asking questions and responding with answers. The children should be solving the questions using paper and pens.

Some of the problems involve the children finding objects in spaces at the museum, recording prices, making estimates and solving the problems.

Objectives of the activity:

  • To encourage the development of problem solving skills.
  • To understand how measures were different in the past and how to calculate in these measures.
  • To be able to solve problems with the presenter, to understand how they are solved in order to work out other problems set back in the classroom.

Ideas for pre and post visit:

Pre session:

  • Prior to the experience, students should be told a little about what they will be doing. It might be useful to have the children in the room when the connection is tested prior to the actual session.
  • It would be useful if the supervisors could explore some of the imperial measures before the session starts so the children are already familiar with them.

Post session:

  • Children to create their own imperial problems to solve, testing each other.
  • Complete the follow-up worksheets on offer.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. Telephone Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, on 0191 370 4011 or email

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