In this article for teachers, Elizabeth Carruthers and Maulfry Worthington explore the differences between 'recording mathematics' and 'representing mathematical thinking'.
How can we help students make sense of addition and subtraction of negative numbers?
Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.
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. . . .
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
There are over sixty different ways of making 24 by adding,
subtracting, multiplying and dividing all four numbers 4, 6, 6 and
8 (using each number only once). How many can you find?
Fancy a game of cricket? Here is a mathematical version you can play indoors without breaking any windows.
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten
numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
Can you draw a continuous line through 16 numbers on this grid so
that the total of the numbers you pass through is as high as
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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?
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.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
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?
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
Use the 'double-3 down' dominoes to make a square so that each side has eight dots.
Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.
Use these four dominoes to make a square that has the same number of dots on each side.
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
If each of these three shapes has a value, can you find the totals
of the combinations? Perhaps you can use the shapes to make the
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
The Scot, John Napier, invented these strips about 400 years ago to
help calculate multiplication and division. Can you work out how to
use Napier's bones to find the answer to these multiplications?
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
These sixteen children are standing in four lines of four, one
behind the other. They are each holding a card with a number on it.
Can you work out the missing numbers?
In this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone
numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a
sequence adding 2 each time?
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
Go through the maze, collecting and losing your money as you go.
Which route gives you the highest return? And the lowest?
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and
lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children
buy with their money?
These caterpillars have 16 parts. What different shapes do they make if each part lies in the small squares of a 4 by 4 square?
Are these domino games fair? Can you explain why or why not?
Have a go at this game which involves throwing two dice and adding
their totals. Where should you place your counters to be more
likely to win?
In your bank, you have three types of coins. The number of spots shows how much they are worth. Can you choose coins to exchange with the groups given to make the same total?
Can you arrange fifteen dominoes so that all the touching domino
pieces add to 6 and the ends join up? Can you make all the joins
add to 7?
Use the interactivities to fill in these Carroll diagrams. How do you know where to place the numbers?
In sheep talk the only letters used are B and A. A sequence of
words is formed by following certain rules. What do you notice when
you count the letters in each word?
A group of children are using measuring cylinders but they lose the
labels. Can you help relabel them?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?