Get involved with the Big Butterfly Count 2018

Nature needs our help! Here’s a real-life science project that everyone can help with – the big butterfly count is on now, running until 20 August, so don’t miss out

More than ever before, it’s important for everyone to be aware of the environment and take care of nature around us. The big butterfly count is a UK-wide survey, organised by the charity Butterfly Conservation, and sponsored by B&Q. It aims to assess the health of our environment by counting butterfly and day-flying moths.

Big Butterfly Count, survey 2018

These marvellous insects are ideal indicators of how the ecosystem is doing – they react very quickly to changes in their environment, and so any declines in their population numbers are often an important early warning for other wildlife losses. Counting butterfly numbers like this is like taking the pulse of nature!
We can help scientists and naturalists understand changes and trends in butterfly populations, plan for protecting them in future, and understand more about climate change and habitat destruction.

Big Butterfly Count, survey 2018

How to get involved!
You can easily join in as a big butterfly count only takes 15 minutes, on a bright (preferably sunny) day! Use a downloadable identification chart to record how many butterflies and day-flying moths you see in those 15 minutes. Then upload your findings to the big butterfly count website or app. Simple!
Find out more about how to count your butterflies here.

For more inspiration, see what naturalist Sir David Attenborough, President of Butterfly Conservation, has to say about the big butterfly count:

Topmarks’ tip: This is a great activity to do with children, especially if they’ve been learning about minibeasts, butterfly life cycles and their habitats!
Click now, and get out in the fresh air to join in the big butterfly count today!

Topmarks’ Coins Learning Game Gets Even Better

Get your children money-savvy with all-new updates to our
Coins Game, with sorting, ordering and counting activities now in other currencies, as well as GBP sterling!

Coins Game is one of our most popular games, great for introducing children to coinage. The default currency is British, however you can now play in either Australian dollars, US dollars or Euros simply by clicking on the appropriate flag on the menu screen.

Coins Game - learning coinage with Topmarks. Money Sorting, Ordering and Counting activities

Ideal for young learners aged 4-10, the game features three activities – Sorting, Ordering and Counting, all perfect for practising coin values. Each has varying levels of difficulty to aid progression.

The first activity is Sorting, which has two different modes. This is particularly useful for very young children and it is a more convenient alternative to using plastic money in a class situation.

Coins Game - learning coinage with Topmarks. Money Sorting, Ordering and Counting activities

Ordering is the next activity, which helps pupils arrange the coins in value order, from lowest to highest. Again, there are two difficulty modes, or three in the case of the Euro currency.

Coins Game - learning coinage with Topmarks. Money Sorting, Ordering and Counting activities

Finally, in the Counting activity, children are asked to count money amounts on a fun piggy bank. There are eight menu options, which enable teachers to pitch the activity at the appropriate level.

Coins Game - learning coinage with Topmarks. Money Sorting, Ordering and Counting activities

With lively animation and sound rewards, Coins Game is sure to be engaging for children of all levels and its tablet- and whiteboard-friendly format will prove versatile for use on many different devices.

New game to play! Mental Maths Train

Topmarks is excited to add a new game to our growing collection of learning resources – this one is called Mental Maths Train.

This new interactive game is designed for 5-11 year olds to practise numeracy skills of the four operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – specifically focussing on the varied vocabulary around the calculations.

Mental Maths train game - numeracy operations

It’s important for pupils to recognise the different language used for expressing the same maths functions, such as take away, reduce and subtract, all within the subtraction operation.

Mental Maths train game - numeracy operationsTo reinforce the language used around basic numeracy, none of the questions use the symbols +, -, x and ÷. Since Mental Maths Train is fully randomised, you’ll find it’s versatile and highly re-playable! Not least with the wide range of levels within each operation offering excellent progression opportunities.

Mental Maths train game - numeracy operations

Each question features a multiple choice of answers, and the fun scheme, colourful visuals and non-distracting sounds all make for an engaging learning experience for the children.

Mental Maths train game - numeracy operations

Like all Topmarks’ games, it is suitable for use on interactive whiteboards, thanks to the full-screen capability, or on tablets and other devices – Mental Maths Train is designed for wide compatibility!

Mental Maths train game - numeracy operations

Visit here to start playing today! And don’t forget to let us know how you get on when you play. Share your comments and photos on our social media channels, here at Facebook, and Twitter.


Ready to train like a Jedi?

This new programme, Train Like a Jedi, from Change4Life is sure to inspire everyone to be more active – feel the force, with our favourite Star Wars characters!

Perfectly timed to coincide with National School Sport Week, we’re highlighting the launch of this fun campaign by Public Health England and Disney UK, called Train Like a Jedi.
With only 23% of boys and 20% of girls aged between 5-15 meeting the national recommendations of 60 minutes physical activity every day, here’s a great way to encourage kids to move more.

Train Like a Jedi, Change4Life campaign

A 2018 survey by PHE and Disney UK found that more than 4 in 5 children would be inspired to move more if their saw their favourite characters being active.
Previous years’ PHE programmes have seen more than 2million children getting active, so following the ever-popular Star Wars characters is a fabulous way to continue the healthy living commitment, in answer to these new findings.

Mark Hamill, the Star Wars actor playing Luke Skywalker, offers his support to children: “If you want to become a Jedi like Luke Skywalker or Rey, then you need to be fit, healthy and strong.
This summer Change4Life can help you Train Like a Jedi. May the Force be with you.”

Train Like A Jedi, Change4LifePhysical activity is well known for helping young people with better academic results, mental health, as well as social interaction, so there’s no reason not to get behind this idea!

Teachers can find a host of resources to support PE and PHSE curriculum activity on the Train Like a Jedi site. These include lesson plans for KS1 and KS2, playground challenge ideas, and much more besides.
Not forgetting the specially created videos so those of all abilities, even wheelchair users, can learn their all-important Jedi moves to be fit, active and healthy. Just 10minute bursts, they’re ideal for use during the school day or at home. (There’s even a video for the teachers, so you’ll be equipped to train your Jedi wannabes!)
Train Like a Jedi, Change4LifeGuided by Jade Jones, a double gold Olympic medal winner for Team GB in taekwondo, everyone will love joining the resistance against the Dark Side as they get active this summer! Jade says: “Inspiring kids to get active is something I’m really passionate about.”

Train Like A Jedi, Change4Life

Visit now to see what’s available, and sign up to their School Zone newsletter too, to keep up-to-date with more resources that are being added throughout the summer term.