If you wrote all the possible four digit numbers made by using each
of the digits 2, 4, 5, 7 once, what would they add up to?
This article suggests some ways of making sense of calculations involving positive and negative numbers.
Find the numbers in this sum
You have four jugs of 9, 7, 4 and 2 litres capacity. The 9 litre
jug is full of wine, the others are empty. Can you divide the wine
into three equal quantities?
How can we help students make sense of addition and subtraction of negative numbers?
The picture shows a lighthouse and many underwater creatures. If
you know the markings on the lighthouse are 1m apart, can you work
out the distances between some of the different creatures?
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?
If each of these three shapes has a value, can you find the totals
of the combinations? Perhaps you can use the shapes to make the
Whenever two chameleons of different colours meet they change
colour to the third colour. Describe the shortest sequence of
meetings in which all the chameleons change to green if you start
with 12. . . .
In this game the winner is the first to complete a row of three. Are some squares easier to land on than others?
Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
A combination mechanism for a safe comprises thirty-two tumblers
numbered from one to thirty-two in such a way that the numbers in
each wheel total 132... Could you open the safe?
What is the sum of all the digits in all the integers from one to
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
This number has 903 digits. What is the sum of all 903 digits?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
In this problem you have to place four by four magic squares on the
faces of a cube so that along each edge of the cube the numbers
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
There are exactly 3 ways to add 4 odd numbers to get 10. Find all
the ways of adding 8 odd numbers to get 20. To be sure of getting
all the solutions you will need to be systematic. What about. . . .
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?
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?
This addition sum uses all ten digits 0, 1, 2...9 exactly once.
Find the sum and show that the one you give is the only
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?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
This article explains how to make your own magic square to mark a special occasion with the special date of your choice on the top line.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
Use the 'double-3 down' dominoes to make a square so that each side
has eight dots.
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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.
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find out how long they take.
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?
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.
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?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to 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?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that
the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three
numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways to. . . .
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷)
to make these digits come to 100.
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?
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.
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which
things could she give exactly the right amount for?