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?
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
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 your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
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.
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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?
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?
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?
Fancy a game of cricket? Here is a mathematical version you can play indoors without breaking any windows.
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
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
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?
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?
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?
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
Find out why these matrices are magic. Can you work out how they were made? Can you make your own Magic Matrix?
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more
than way to do it?
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.
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?
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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?
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which
things could she give exactly the right amount for?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most efficient.
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?
Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number
system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a
look at the multiplications table.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
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
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 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.
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?
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.
Use the information to work out how many gifts there are in each
Use these four dominoes to make a square that has the same number of dots on each side.
In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st,
2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice
about the answers?
Use the 'double-3 down' dominoes to make a square so that each side has eight dots.