In this article for teachers, Elizabeth Carruthers and Maulfry Worthington explore the differences between 'recording mathematics' and 'representing mathematical thinking'.
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?
Can you use the numbers on the dice to reach your end of the number line before your partner beats you?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
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?
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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
This is an adding game for two players.
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.
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.
Choose four of the numbers from 1 to 9 to put in the squares so that the differences between joined squares are odd.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
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?
This article gives you a few ideas for understanding the Got It! game and how you might find a winning strategy.
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
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?
This problem is based on a code using two different prime numbers
less than 10. You'll need to multiply them together and shift the
alphabet forwards by the result. Can you decipher the code?
A game for 2 or more players. Practise your addition and subtraction with the aid of a game board and some dried peas!
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Can you make a cycle of pairs that add to make a square number
using all the numbers in the box below, once and once only?
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.
A game for 2 players. Practises subtraction or other maths
A game for 2 or more players with a pack of cards. Practise your
skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to hit
the target score.
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
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?
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?
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
How have the numbers been placed in this Carroll diagram? Which
labels would you put on each row and column?
If you have only four weights, where could you place them in order
to balance this equaliser?
Can you follow the rule to decode the messages?
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
Dotty Six is a simple dice game that you can adapt in many ways.
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.
Use five steps to count forwards or backwards in 1s or 10s to get to 50. What strategies did you use?
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
Dotty Six game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have three sixes in a straight line?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
First Connect Three game for an adult and child. Use the dice numbers and either addition or subtraction to get three numbers in a straight line.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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 numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
An old game but lots of arithmetic!