Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
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.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
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
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your opponent.
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?
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.
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
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?
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
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.
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?
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?
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
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?
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?
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
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?
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
This is an adding game for two players.
A game for 2 people using a pack of cards Turn over 2 cards and try
to make an odd number or a multiple of 3.
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?
Peter, Melanie, Amil and Jack received a total of 38 chocolate
eggs. Use the information to work out how many eggs each person
What is the largest number you can make using the three digits 2, 3
and 4 in any way you like, using any operations you like? You can
only use each digit once.
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.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more
than way to do it?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
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?
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?
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.
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?
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
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.
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?