What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Which times on a digital clock have a line of symmetry? Which look
the same upside-down? You might like to try this investigation and
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
During the third hour after midnight the hands on a clock point in
the same direction (so one hand is over the top of the other). At
what time, to the nearest second, does this happen?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
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.
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?
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
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.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
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?
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.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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?
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?
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
Add the sum of the squares of four numbers between 10 and 20 to the
sum of the squares of three numbers less than 6 to make the square
of another, larger, number.
Ram divided 15 pennies among four small bags. He could then pay any sum of money from 1p to 15p without opening any bag. How many pennies did Ram put in each bag?
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?
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!
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?
Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?
Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?
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!
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.
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷)
to make these digits come to 100.
Cassandra, David and Lachlan are brothers and sisters. They range
in age between 1 year and 14 years. Can you figure out their exact
ages from the clues?
Tell your friends that you have a strange calculator that turns
numbers backwards. What secret number do you have to enter to make
141 414 turn around?
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.
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
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?
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?
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation
strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to
ask? Don't forget to keep visiting NRICH projects site for the
latest developments and questions.