Take Away Teaching Ideas #14


Monkey Puzzle

By Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The story revolves around a child-like monkey who has lost his mother in the deep, thick, hot jungle. The monkey is then assisted to find his mother by a butterfly, who tries to think of whereabouts in the jungle she might be.


You can view the story HERE


Let me introduce you to my friend Sheila Griffin!

I have the pleasure to work alongside Sheila in W.A. She is a mathematics consultant with A.I.S.W.A.

Sheila is absolutely passionate about mathematics and most importantly she is generous in sharing her ideas and insights! You can connect with Sheila on Twitter HERE


View this video to get to know Sheila 



A HUGE thank you to Sheila for creating purposeful and engaging mathematics teaching ideas to this superb book!


  • Counting and Early Subtraction

“Five Little Monkeys jumping on the bed”

View and sing the nursery rhyme.



  • Estimation

Monkey said his mum’s “tail coils round trees.” Without using any measuring materials can you draw a coil approximately one metre long. How could you check your estimation?

  • Geometry – Symmetry

Find a picture of a butterfly and fold it in half. Can you draw the other half?




  • Problem Solving and Reasoning

Monkey peers through the jungle. He can see 24 legs. Which animals can he see? How many different solutions are there?

  • Collecting data and graphing

Go through the book and tally how many times you see each jungle animal who tries to help monkey and graph your results.

  • Number Lines (Place Value and Ordering)

From the tally write the total number for each animal on post it notes. Order the numbers on an open /empty number line. How many are odd? How many are even? Can you write one more, one less, ten more, ten less for each number?

  • Length

Draw monkey, his mum and dad and order them from big, bigger and biggest.

Draw 5 jungle trees and order them by height.

  • Place Value

Monkey found a four-digit puzzle. Can you help him solve it?


The digit in the ones place is the number of legs on a spider.

The number of legs on a parrot is the number for the thousands place.

In the hundreds place is the number of legs on three parrots.

The tens digit is the number of legs on a frog minus one.


Using the number of legs on the animals from the story, can you make another four-digit puzzle for monkey?

  • Number Facts

Using the left-hand side and right-hand side of butterfly wings.  Place a number between 0 and 10 on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side write the number which makes the number fact to ten. How many of these butterflies can you make?

  • Repeated Addition / Early Multiplication

How many animal eyes are in the story? What number sentences could you write to help you find the total?


Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick