Hi everyone,

I am a numeracy tutor in adult education teaching students who want to improve their basic numeracy skills. As my classes are mostly in the evenings, the students often arrived tired and stressed after a busy day at work or with their children. I find doing a short warm up activity helps to focus the students attention and gives a bit of energy to the group.

Does anyone have any suggestions for short activities that I could try? The students enjoy logic puzzles and 'brain training' tasks. The activities don't need to be mathematical, indeed I have found that creative tasks are really engaging, the students find them fun and they help to build the rapport within the group.

Many thanks


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You said not necessarily mathematical - but could the 24 game be useful? I have linked to it here.

Perhaps some more (sorry - Mathematical!) ideas here?

My first thoughts are that maybe if you can keep them moving at the beginning of the class, get a little blood pumping without tiring them out, you may see more engagement rather than them sitting at the desk and 'going to sleep'. You could design a quiz whereby the students need to answer the questions by moving around the room. The quiz could be an informal formative assessment based around the learning outcomes from the previous session. On a separate note, I find that frequent short breaks help to lift concentration when students (or myself) are feeling tired.

Hi Theresa

I think that warm up tasks is a great idea as it can focus your group on a specific topic and can even open up creative learning to get learners engaged and starts the lesson off to a high positive tempo. A great way I've heard and even tried is to- get the learners to share their top 2/3 favourite things about the subject in your area of teaching, then as the teacher facilitate links to the area/ LO for the lesson in a group discussion. This can also have a positive effect on group cohesion.
Thanks to everyone for the responses. Your have given me some great ideas!


Forget warm-up activities.  Try loud music.  Something completely unrelated to what is expected of them for the time they are with you.  A different song each week...  from a musical, pop, opera, they will eventually arrive early and try to guess your choice...  Music is a bonding thing too, students of a 'certain age' will appreciate the reminders.

I am not being flippant, what would you rather hear when you arrive at a class within the scenario you describe, 'Now, turn to page...' OR The Undertones singing Teenage Kicks? Which would make you smile, relaxed and focused?

Brilliant idea Colin! I will give that a shot!

Thanks :))

Hi Theresa,

Might be an idea to ask the students what they would find useful?

Some might have some really good warm up activities up their sleeves that they already know work well for them. Getting them to create their own warm up activities might be a fun task also, getting their focus firmly on whats going on in the room and getting them to interact with one another whilst working on something beneficial for you AND them. This way it is entirely inclusive.

Hope this helps :) Emma

Brilliant idea, Emma. :))


In my last lesson I did some brainstorming straight away and found that I had the whole groups attention was with me, it was a fantastic way to start the lesson it made it fun and interesting and at the same time activated their brains ready for learning, going to try this more often especially with my early morning and late eveing classes!!
My group is with health and beauty and we were just randomly talking about H & B in the news with the celebs and related it to what they were doing, they were learning without learning. For maths could you do something similar celebs followers on twitter etc?
Hi Tracy,

I think that's the key with early/late classes - getting the brains ready for action! Keeping the classes current with items in the news too is good as it makes the class seem more relevant. I like the idea of following celebs - we could talk about the number of followers, number of tweets etc. Great idea!

Hi Teresa,
You're welcome it's good to share ideas and I have used many of others suggestion, such as a millionaire quiz, it worked a treat, I also have used a quick fire re-cap quiz with the cards looking like a deck of playing cards and the learners couldn't leave until they answered one (of course there is no pressure as they could ask two other learners before answering), which was great for re capping and takes the pressure off.
T x

Have you considered using "math tricks"

These activities will captivate attention and create an active learning environment.

Check them out :




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