Digital numeracy tips & tricks: Using footage of real life contexts to teach fractions and more

Videos on Discovery Education Espresso contain great real-life context. I’m going to demonstrate how to utilise this using an example from KS2 Maths.

One of the videos is Fraction, decimal and percentage problem and is set on a space station.

  • Play until just past the first minute and pause on the screen below

It’s unlikely that students will be thinking about fractions at this point, but may well have involved themselves in the story of space.

  • Pause on this screen to provide a great opportunity for students to create their own maths problems based on the information given.

Areas of maths this video could also support:

Time e.g. dividing up 24 hours of an astronaut’s life

Ratio e.g. the proportion of jobs to leisure or travel

Algebra e.g. representing the tasks and time as an algebraic sentence

Measurement e.g. converting between hours and minutes

Geometry e.g. plotting the space station activity on 4 quadrants with coordinates

Statistics e.g. constructing the information as a line graph

The problems generated by students, can be shared, displayed, grouped and worked on. If your maths focus was percentages, then after looking at their generated questions you could continue with the video, pausing to solve the problems together.

Tip: If you don’t want to scroll through modules, you can access resources in other ways from the subject home page:

  1. By curriculum topic – a drop down at the top of the subject home page
  2. By curriculum objective – a button on the right of the subject home page
  3. Search – a search box at the top of the page



  • This printable resource has word problems to extend students, keeping with the theme of space.

You could post one on a large sheet of paper at different parts of the room and ask students to rotate round spending a few minutes at each to work out the answer, recording for others to see.

  • Students could create a pie chart to represent time with a set of events with different durations, labelling with fractions.
  • And this activity is a fun way to check knowledge of equivalent fractions and percentages against the clock.
  • To continue with the theme of space, you could use the Earth moon and sun science module looking at distances between the planets as well as diameter and mass. A poster of facts could be drawn up and displayed and students could be asked in groups to write word problems involving incorporating fractions, decimals and percentages in relation to planets.

NB For those children who need consolidation, use the Fractions and decimals (lower) module for resources that support earlier development of these concepts.

I’d love to hear if you have looked at this or other resources in maths on Discovery Education Espresso to support areas of your numeracy curriculum. Please comment in the box!

Find the featured resources:

Fraction, decimal and percentage problem
KS2 > Maths > Fractions, decimals and percentages (Upper) > Video > Fraction, decimal and percentage problem
Printable resource
KS2 > Maths > Fractions, decimals and percentages (Upper) > Printable resources > Fraction, decimal and percentage problems
KS2 > Maths > Fractions, decimals and percentages (Upper) > Activities > Snap: percentage and fraction images
Earth moon and sun
KS2 > Science > Eath, moon and sun