Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Mr. Sunshine tells the children they will have 2 hours of homework.
After several calculations, Harry says he hasn't got time to do
this homework. Can you see where his reasoning is wrong?
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.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
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.
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This
challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates
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?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
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.
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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.
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?
How would you count the number of fingers in these pictures?
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
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.
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?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
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
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant numbers?
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?
Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?
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?
Can you work out how many flowers there will be on the Amazing Splitting Plant after it has been growing for six weeks?
A group of children are using measuring cylinders but they lose the labels. Can you help relabel them?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, invites you to explore the different combinations of scores that you might get on these dart boards.
Tim had nine cards each with a different number from 1 to 9 on it. How could he have put them into three piles so that the total in each pile was 15?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷)
to make these digits come to 100.
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?
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more
than way to do it?
Katie had a pack of 20 cards numbered from 1 to 20. She arranged
the cards into 6 unequal piles where each pile added to the same
total. What was the total and how could this be done?
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?
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
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.
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
There were 22 legs creeping across the web. How many flies? How many spiders?
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice? How could you sort the cards?