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?
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
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?
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
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
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?
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?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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 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
These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is
numerical, one geometric.
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?
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?
I was looking at the number plate of a car parked outside. Using my special code S208VBJ adds to 65. Can you crack my code and use it to find out what both of these number plates add up to?
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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
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?
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?
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
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.
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
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?
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
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?
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?
A game for 2 players. Practises subtraction or other maths
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
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?
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?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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?
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 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?
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?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which
things could she give exactly the right amount for?