In this article for teachers, Elizabeth Carruthers and Maulfry Worthington explore the differences between 'recording mathematics' and 'representing mathematical thinking'.
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
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?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Woof is a big dog. Yap is a little dog.
Emma has 16 dog biscuits to give to the two dogs.
She gave Woof 4 more biscuits than Yap.
How many biscuits did each dog get?
Can you work out how many flowers there will be on the Amazing Splitting Plant after it has been growing for six weeks?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Use the number weights to find different ways of balancing the equaliser.
There were 22 legs creeping across the web. How many flies? How many spiders?
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?
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
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?
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?
Arrange the numbers 1 to 6 in each set of circles below. The sum of each side of the triangle should equal the number in its centre.
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?
Tell your friends that you have a strange calculator that turns
numbers backwards. What secret number do you have to enter to make
141 414 turn around?
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
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 numbers to make the sum of each row, column and
diagonal equal to 15.
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
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?
Noah saw 12 legs walk by into the Ark. How many creatures did he see?
Can you hang weights in the right place to make the equaliser
A game for 2 or more players. Practise your addition and subtraction with the aid of a game board and some dried peas!
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
There are three baskets, a brown one, a red one and a pink one, holding a total of 10 eggs. Can you use the information given to find out how many eggs are in each basket?
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
On Planet Plex, there are only 6 hours in the day. Can you answer
these questions about how Arog the Alien spends his day?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Can you make a train the same length as Laura's but using three differently coloured rods? Is there only one way of doing it?
Complete these two jigsaws then put one on top of the other. What
happens when you add the 'touching' numbers? What happens when you
change the position of the jigsaws?
Use five steps to count forwards or backwards in 1s or 10s to get to 50. What strategies did you use?
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find out how long they take.
This big box adds something to any number that goes into it. If you know the numbers that come out, what addition might be going on in the box?
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?
Use the interactivities to fill in these Carroll diagrams. How do you know where to place the numbers?
Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the
next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?
Leah and Tom each have a number line. Can you work out where their counters will land? What are the secret jumps they make with their counters?
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
As you come down the ladders of the Tall Tower you collect useful
spells. Which way should you go to collect the most spells?
Use these head, body and leg pieces to make Robot Monsters which
are different heights.
How have the numbers been placed in this Carroll diagram? Which
labels would you put on each row and column?
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?
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?