These enrichment activities get pupils to consider the meaning and effects arbitrary labels.

This week’s primary enrichment activity combines mathematics and religion, examining why some numbers hold spiritual significance.

This week’s secondary enrichment activity draws on recent research reported at the Edinburgh International Science Festival into nominative determinism. Pupil’s are encouraged to think about the importance of names.

***Primary Enrichment***

KS2: Mathematics. Using and applying number.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • make connections in mathematics and appreciate the need to use numerical skills and knowledge when solving problems in other parts of the mathematics curriculum.

KS2 Religious education. Learning about religion. Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe the key aspects of religions, especially the people, stories and traditions that influence the beliefs and values of others
  • describe the variety of practices and ways of life in religions and understand how these stem from, and are closely connected with, beliefs and teachings
  • identify and begin to describe the similarities and differences within and between religions
  • investigate the significance of religion in the local, national and global communities.

Important numbers

David Beckham is only the fifth England footballer to win 100 caps. The other players who have achieved this status are: Billy Wright (the first player in the world to reach the magic number, at Wembley in April 1959), Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton. Whether Beckham could surpass Shilton’s record of 125 caps is unknown.

‘I would love to play and be part of the squad in 2010. But I’m taking it as it comes − who knows what is round the corner?’ Beckham told the BBC.

Some questions for your pupils to consider and discuss:

We can all be pleased that David Beckham has achieved his 100th cap representing his country. We might also be interested to know that the number of tiles in a standard Scrabble set is 100 or we might like to know the 100 most popular records in the charts this week. Why, however, is the number 100 significant? Think about, discuss and record all the associations that are made with the number 100.

  • Can you detect a pattern that would explain why the number 100 is so significant in both cultural and spiritual thinking?
  • Why do you think the number 100 is so significant in our lives?
  • In your own life, are there significant numbers that you recognise as either spiritually or emotionally important? How do you explain the significance of these numbers? What makes them so important in our psychological, religious and philosophical understanding of the world we live in?


Religious numbers

Going further

In the Hindu religion the numbers 9 and 108 are important. The number 9 is related to Brahma. Adding the digits of the number 108 gives 9, which is why 108 is very important and came into lot of Indian scriptures. There are 4 Yugs or Yuga (a measurement of time) in Indian mythology, which demonstrate the importance of the number 9:

  • Satyug − consists of 1,728,000 years (1+7+2+8 = 18 = (1+8 = 9)
  • Tretayug consists of 1,296,000 years (1+2+9+6 = 18 = (1+8 = 9)
  • Dwaparyug consists of 864,000 years (8+6+4) = 18 = (1+8 = 9)
  • Kaliyug consists of 432,000 years (4+3+2) = 9

Prepare an assembly that presents all the numbers that are important to all the different beliefs represented in your school. This will mean researching how many different religious beliefs are represented in your school and the individual holy numbers of each religion. Are there any numbers that are highly regarded by all religions? You could set your assembly so that there is a quiz the following week to develop the theme of numbers and belief. Find more information on:

England centurions here.

The full Beckham story here.

108 (the number) here.

100 (the number) here.

This is fun, click here.

Learning and teaching Scotland.

Religious and moral education. National guidelines. In the best cases, themes are carefully chosen to suit children’s experience and understanding. Often they arise from topics studied in class; the assembly gives pupils a chance to share their discoveries with others. Pupils are active in singing, reading aloud, acting or playing music and also listen and watch with concentration.

International Baccalaureate. Primary years programme. Curriculum framework

At the heart of the programme’s philosophy is a commitment to structured, purposeful inquiry as the leading vehicle for learning. Six transdisciplinary themes of global significance provide the framework for exploration and study:

  • where we are in place and time
  • how we organize ourselves

***Secondary Enrichment***

KS 3 & 4 Economic wellbeing and financial capability.

This non-statutory programme of study brings together careers education, work-related learning, enterprise and financial capability. It also provides a context for schools to fulfil their legal responsibility to provide opportunities for careers education at key stage 3, and for careers education and work-related learning at key stage 4.

Choosing names

According to recent research published at the 20th Edinburgh International Science Festival, children who have unusual names tend to be more successful in life than children with more conventional names. While Princess Tiaamii (Jordan and Peter Andre’s daughter) or Peaches (Bob Geldof and Paul Yates’ second child) are used as examples to prove the point, the name of the head of the research, Professor Richard Wiseman, suggests that there may be a point worth noting in his theory.

Mr Wiseman told the BBC: ‘Traditional names with royal associations are viewed as highly successful and intelligent.’

Another piece of research released recently suggests that being involved in a charity ‘makes you feel better’. The theory is that spending money or time on others makes us happier and feels better than spending money on ourselves. Professor Elizabeth Dunn, who led the research, said in the March edition of Science:

‘We wanted to test our theory that how people spend their money is at least as important as how much money they earn.’

‘Regardless of how much income each person made, those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.’

Dr George Fieldman, a psychologist at Buckinghamshire New University, said:

‘Giving to charity partly makes you feel better because you’re in a group. You are also perceived as being an altruist.

‘On an individual level, if I give to you, you are less likely to attack me and more likely to be nice to me.’

Some questions for your pupils to consider and discuss:

Begin by considering the table below. What do you notice about the names? What names would you use to research the same topic?

Names Name effect Your experience of the name
James and Elizabeth Most successful  
Jack and Lucy The luckiest  
Sophie and Ryan Most attractive  
Lisa and Brian Most likely to fail  
Helen and John The unluckiest  
Ann and George The least attractive  

A great deal of time and money can be used in the search for a new logo or name for a new product, relaunching an existing product or service, company or organisation. Should we consider changing our names as we travel through life or is one name enough? What names would you think best for the following times of a person’s life? Complete the table below and compare your answers with others in your group. Can you draw up a list that you all agree on? What does this tell you about how you judge and are judged by other people you meet?

At birth  
Beginning school  
Applying for college or a job  
Appearing on television or speaking on radio                                                                                 
Becoming a parent  
Becoming a manager or starting your own business  

Is there a ‘perfect name’? Imagine the perfect name, which brings together a sense of peaceful wellbeing combined with attractiveness, success and luck.


The importance of names

Going further

In most countries an individual’s birthday is a time to celebrate. In some countries everyone with the same name can celebrate together on their ‘name day’. Survey your year group and find out how many different names there are. Then decide to allocate a day of the year as an individual ‘name day’. In addition, you could organise ‘another name day’ when everyone is known for the day by their other name − the name they feel is best for them. With the research data you have gathered on different names in your year group, is there any evidence to suggest that nominative determinism is a valid theory? (Nominative determinism suggests that names influence an individual’s life choice. Prof. Wiseman, mentioned above, would be a good example of nominative determinism).

The full ‘name’ story can be seen here.

The full ‘charity’ story can be seen here.

For more about nominative determinism click here.

Learning and teaching.
Scotland. National Guidelines 5-14 PSD

  • Personal Development: knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes;
  • Social Development: knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes.

Personal development is essentially concerned with:

  • self-awareness and self-esteem

Social development is essentially concerned with:

  • inter-personal relationships and independence and inter-dependence.

International Baccalaureate. Middle Years Programme curriculum

Group 3 Individuals and society

This e-bulletin issue was first published in April 2008

About the author: John Senior is the author of Enrichment Activties for G&T Pupils. He is a teacher with 26 years’ experience of teaching Gifted and Talented children, working with parents and carers as a consultant on high ability, and peer mentoring.