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?
Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the
total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can
you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?
Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
Ahmed is making rods using different numbers of cubes. Which rod is twice the length of his first rod?
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 the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is
numerical, one geometric.
This activity is best done with a whole class or in a large group. Can you match the cards? What happens when you add pairs of the numbers together?
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
At the beginning of May Tom put his tomato plant outside. On the
same day he sowed a bean in another pot. When will the two be the
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.
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 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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?
Investigate this balance which is marked in halves. If you had a weight on the left-hand 7, where could you hang two weights on the right to make it balance?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
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?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be
put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways
that this can be done?
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
There are to be 6 homes built on a new development site. They could
be semi-detached, detached or terraced houses. How many different
combinations of these can you find?
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
Ben’s class were cutting up number tracks. First they cut them into twos and added up the numbers on each piece. What patterns could they see?
This is an adding game for two players.
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
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.
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
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?
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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Twizzle, a female giraffe, needs transporting to another zoo. Which
route will give the fastest journey?
Choose four of the numbers from 1 to 9 to put in the squares so that the differences between joined squares are odd.
In sheep talk the only letters used are B and A. A sequence of
words is formed by following certain rules. What do you notice when
you count the letters in each word?
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?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
There is a clock-face where the numbers have become all mixed up. Can you find out where all the numbers have got to from these ten statements?
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears,
yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways
could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?
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?