In this article for teachers, Elizabeth Carruthers and Maulfry Worthington explore the differences between 'recording mathematics' and 'representing mathematical thinking'.
How could you arrange at least two dice in a stack so that the total of the visible spots is 18?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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?
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
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.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
How can we help students make sense of addition and subtraction of negative numbers?
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
As you come down the ladders of the Tall Tower you collect useful spells. Which way should you go to collect the most spells?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
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?
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
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?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Three children are going to buy some plants for their birthdays. They will plant them within circular paths. How could they do this?
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.
Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.
Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
In this calculation, the box represents a missing digit. What could the digit be? What would the solution be in each case?
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.
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?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
How have the numbers been placed in this Carroll diagram? Which
labels would you put on each row and column?
A group of children are using measuring cylinders but they lose the
labels. Can you help relabel them?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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?
Use these head, body and leg pieces to make Robot Monsters which
are different heights.
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
In this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone
numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a
sequence adding 2 each time?
Go through the maze, collecting and losing your money as you go.
Which route gives you the highest return? And the lowest?
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?
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?
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?
Twizzle, a female giraffe, needs transporting to another zoo. Which
route will give the fastest journey?
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?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
A lady has a steel rod and a wooden pole and she knows the length
of each. How can she measure out an 8 unit piece of pole?
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
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?