How can we help students make sense of addition and subtraction of negative numbers?
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.
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
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?
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
How would you count the number of fingers in these pictures?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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 each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
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.
This article gives you a few ideas for understanding the Got It! game and how you might find a winning strategy.
Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
In this game, you can add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers
on the dice. Which will you do so that you get to the end of the
number line first?
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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?
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.
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?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three
puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?
Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
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
Skippy and Anna are locked in a room in a large castle. The key to that room, and all the other rooms, is a number. The numbers are locked away in a problem. Can you help them to get out?
If you have ten counters numbered 1 to 10, how many can you put into pairs that add to 10? Which ones do you have to leave out? Why?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle 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?
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is
numerical, one geometric.
Here are the prices for 1st and 2nd class mail within the UK. You have an unlimited number of each of these stamps. Which stamps would you need to post a parcel weighing 825g?
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?
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷)
to make these digits come to 100.
I throw three dice and get 5, 3 and 2. Add the scores on the three
dice. What do you get? Now multiply the scores. What do you notice?
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
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
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?
Ben’s class were making cutting up number tracks. First they
cut them into twos and added up the numbers on each piece. What
patterns could they see?
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
Write the numbers up to 64 in an interesting way so that the shape they make at the end is interesting, different, more exciting ... than just a square.
A game for 2 people using a pack of cards Turn over 2 cards and try
to make an odd number or a multiple of 3.
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?