In this article for teachers, Elizabeth Carruthers and Maulfry Worthington explore the differences between 'recording mathematics' and 'representing mathematical thinking'.
Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways to do. . . .
Use these four dominoes to make a square that has the same number of dots on each side.
How can we help students make sense of addition and subtraction of negative numbers?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Use the 'double-3 down' dominoes to make a square so that each side has eight dots.
Using 3 rods of integer lengths, none longer than 10 units and not
using any rod more than once, you can measure all the lengths in
whole units from 1 to 10 units. How many ways can you do this?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.
Put the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 into the squares so that the
numbers on each circle add up to the same amount. Can you find the
rule for giving another set of six numbers?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Max and Mandy put their number lines together to make a graph. How
far had each of them moved along and up from 0 to get the counter
to the place marked?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
On a calculator, make 15 by using only the 2 key and any of the
four operations keys. How many ways can you find to do it?
What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different numbers and different rules.
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
Peter, Melanie, Amil and Jack received a total of 38 chocolate
eggs. Use the information to work out how many eggs each person
A lady has a steel rod and a wooden pole and she knows the length
of each. How can she measure out an 8 unit piece of pole?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
Susie took cherries out of a bowl by following a certain pattern.
How many cherries had there been in the bowl to start with if she
was left with 14 single ones?
In this 100 square, look at the green square which contains the numbers 2, 3, 12 and 13. What is the sum of the numbers that are diagonally opposite each other? What do you notice?
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more
than way to do it?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
Find out why these matrices are magic. Can you work out how they were made? Can you make your own Magic Matrix?
Fill in the numbers to make the sum of each row, column and
diagonal equal to 34. For an extra challenge try the huge American
Flag magic square.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
On the planet Vuv there are two sorts of creatures. The Zios have 3 legs and the Zepts have 7 legs. The great planetary explorer Nico counted 52 legs. How many Zios and how many Zepts were there?
Find out what a Deca Tree is and then work out how many leaves
there will be after the woodcutter has cut off a trunk, a branch, a
twig and a leaf.
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Annie cut this numbered cake into 3 pieces with 3 cuts so that the
numbers on each piece added to the same total. Where were the cuts
and what fraction of the whole cake was each piece?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which
things could she give exactly the right amount for?
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
Cassandra, David and Lachlan are brothers and sisters. They range
in age between 1 year and 14 years. Can you figure out their exact
ages from the clues?
Try adding together the dates of all the days in one week. Now
multiply the first date by 7 and add 21. Can you explain what
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
There are three buckets each of which holds a maximum of 5 litres.
Use the clues to work out how much liquid there is in each bucket.
Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the
total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can
you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?
Amy has a box containing domino pieces but she does not think it is a complete set. She has 24 dominoes in her box and there are 125 spots on them altogether. Which of her domino pieces are missing?
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most efficient.
On the table there is a pile of oranges and lemons that weighs
exactly one kilogram. Using the information, can you work out how
many lemons there are?
Rocco ran in a 200 m race for his class. Use the information to
find out how many runners there were in the race and what Rocco's
finishing position was.
Fancy a game of cricket? Here is a mathematical version you can play indoors without breaking any windows.
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
Start by putting one million (1 000 000) into the display of your
calculator. Can you reduce this to 7 using just the 7 key and add,
subtract, multiply, divide and equals as many times as you like?