Maths Being Creative?

Maths Being Creative?

When I think of ways to describe Maths, creative definetly does not appear on the list or anywhere near it.  The common perception of Maths is long, difficult equations, hard to understand problems and a few questions involving graphs. Overall, it is something quite dreary and dull. However, Maths can be a creative subject that students can can have fun and be engaged with.

Every time I think of Maths lessons at school, the first memory is sitting at my desk and working through multiple problems trying to find the one solution – all so I could pass one final exam at the end of the year. The closest to doing something ‘creative’ on the course was drawing a graph – which for the most part, is not something fun to draw. As previously mentioned, most people will not consider Maths as being creative yet the Scottish Government expect this attribute to be developed within the classroom (Scottish Government, n.d.). It is important that children can see that this subject can be fun as this will hopefully make it appear less grey and boring.

During an input in Discovering Maths, we were discussing tessellations, “a pattern made by repeatedly fitting together without gas a collection of identical tiles” (Haylock and Manning, 2014), which is maths and is creative – combining the two unlikely things. The “basic idea” (Ma, 1999) that is at the centre of tessellations is 2D shapes. Children can learn about the types of triangles, quadrilaterals and building up to a variety of polygons  (e.g. hexagon, octagon and nonagon) – regular and irregular. It is from learning these shapes that children can learn which of these shapes tessellate and which do not. This gets them exploring 2D shapes and seeing if they can make a continuing pattern – this exploration stimulates their curiosity and appears less terrifying than other aspect of maths. Another benefit of tessellations is that they in the wider world – so children can begin looking for them, possibly with parents or guardians.

Digital Root Circles are another creative activity that can be done with pupils. A digital root is “the result of finding the digital sum of the digital sum of a natural number” (Haylock and Manning, 2014) until it has become a single number. For example;

6 x 4 = 24

2 + 4 = 6

So the number 6 is the digital root. This can be done with all the times tables which creates a pattern. The following circles are examples I have done from finding out the digital root:During this activity, it was interesting to see what patterns the digital root numbers produced and see what times tables produced the same pattern, for example the 5- and 11-times table produced the same version of the star. Children can explore this aspect of Maths in an enjoyable way without the negativity and a more interesting subject to look at.

Overall, Maths has the capability of being creative and can make children think it is intriguing to learn about. By doing more activities like this then can hopefully improve the outlook on Maths and encourage students to ‘give it a go’.


Haylock, D. and Manning, R. (2014) Mathematics Explained for Primary Teachers. 5th edn. London: SAGE

Ma, L. (1999) Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics – Teachers’ Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and The United States. London: Routledge

Scottish Government (n.d) Curriculum for Excellence. Available at: (Accessed: 25 September 2018)

1 thought on “Maths Being Creative?

  1. Jonathan Brown

    I still find the stars made by the digital roots of the multiplication tables amazing! There is definitely a place for wonder in maths and what a springboard into further learning!


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