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The Maths Circus Series

At present there are three packages in this series - Maths Circus Act 3, Act 4 and Act 5. Maths Circus Act 4 and Act 5 are completely new versions of the successful Maths Circus Acts 1 and 2. Although the new programs are based on Maths Circus Acts 1 and 2 they offer much more than the earlier versions. The puzzles in each of these two acts have an excellent pedigree, they are similar to those in Maths Circus Acts 1 and 2 but they have been extended with many new challenges added. Some puzzles are totally new, whilst others have new twists to them.

The Acts are not intended to be sequential in any way. They are not designed for increasing age ranges, nor do they become progressively more difficult.

Having said that, the Acts do vary somewhat in their range and difficulty. Their similarities and differences are summarised below.

Note that all the Circus puzzles encourage original thought. They work particularly well at the extremes - with pupils who are lacking in confidence and who do not like maths or who believe that they are no good at it, and at the other extreme for able pupils who need extension activities. Because the puzzles require thought rather than specific knowledge, it is not possible to specify exact age ranges - indeed we have found that many eight-year-olds cope much better with the hardest levels than many adults! The software has been profitably used by students from three to eighty-five years old.

Similarities

The five acts each contain twelve puzzles, each of which has several levels of difficulty.

While each of the acts are broadly aimed at primary students, the varying levels of difficulty make them suitable for a very wide age range.

In each act, students can either “just practise” (in which case their achievements are not recorded), or can “start a new circus” (in which case their achievements are recorded, and the student can resume their circus at a later session).

Each act has teacher options, including the ability to inspect students' progress, to enable or disable each level of each puzzle, and to set various other preferences (including disabling music and sound effects).

Each act includes various special needs facilities.

Differences

Act 3 - Each of the twelve puzzles has TEN levels.
The first five levels of each puzzle are called the BASIC levels, and are suited to lower and middle primary. The higher five levels are called the ADVANCED levels, and are more suited to middle and upper primary and even secondary use. The highest of the advanced levels are challenging even for adults. This extra range of levels makes Act 3 suitable for use throughout the entire primary range, and into secondary.

Act 4 - Each of the twelve puzzles has TEN levels.
The first five levels of each puzzle are called the BASIC levels, and are suited to lower and middle primary. The higher five levels are called the ADVANCED levels, and are more suited to middle and upper primary and even secondary use. The highest of the advanced levels are challenging even for adults. This extra range of levels makes Act 4 suitable for use throughout the entire primary range, and into secondary.

Act 5 - Each of the twelve puzzles has TEN levels.
The first five levels of each puzzle are called the BASIC levels, and are suited to lower and middle primary. The higher five levels are called the ADVANCED levels, and are more suited to middle and upper primary and even secondary use. The highest of the advanced levels are challenging even for adults. This extra range of levels makes Act 5 suitable for use throughout the entire primary range, and into secondary.

Maths Circus Puzzle Comparison Chart

Some of the topics listed below are normally associated with older children. However the Circus puzzles introduce topics in a way that is suitable even for young children.

Act 3

PuzzleTopic
Fork liftProblem solving: planning and spatial awareness in two dimensions
ElevatorBasic numeracy: addition, positive and negative numbers, simple programming
PyramidsSpatial manipulation and planning
WaterBasic numeracy: addition
LionsTwo dimensional logical route planning
ClownsBasic numeracy: counting and number, simultaneous equations
TrampolineSimple physics: concepts involved include gravity, projectiles, speed
JugglingBasic numeracy: number statements involving numbers 1 to 9, +, x, =
DolphinSpatial awareness and planning two and three dimensions
ShapesAttributes - colour and shape - and simple programming
RiverAngle, direction, speed, time, simple vectors
RopesBasic numeracy: addition, subtraction & multiplication

Act 4

PuzzleTopic
SealsProblem solving with shapes and movement (like a simplified Rubik's cube)
TrapezeSimple physics: pendulums, timing
MagicianLogic, sequencing and problem solving
GuardsTiming, observation and planning
CannonSimple physics: trajectories, angles, speed
CageBasic numeracy: addition and simple equations
UnicyclesBasic numeracy: positive and negative numbers, number lines
DrinksBasic numeracy: addition and multiplication, simple simultaneous equations
ElephantBasic numeracy: addition
Seat BoltsSpatial awareness, coordinates and distance in two and three dimensions
ClownsProblem solving and logic in a novel setting!
LionsSorting and size

Act 5

PuzzleTopic
SortingSorting by shape and colour, and introducing AND, OR, NOT
MatsProblem solving involving colour and shapes
TowersBasic numeracy: addition
FeedingProblem solving with simple machines: programming and control
AcrobatsA variation on the "Tower of Hanoi" problem
Packing UpGeometry and spatial awareness in two dimensions
SeatsBasic numeracy: multiplication tables and factors
LightsSwitching puzzles involving the logic operators AND, OR, XOR
BasketballSimple physics: concepts involved include gravity, projectiles, energy and the mechanism of bouncing
ShoppingBasic arithmetic, concentrating on the type of calculation encountered in shopping
TaxiProblem solving involving planning and reasoning
FoldingProblem solving involving folding and geometry