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.
Investigate $1^n + 19^n + 20^n + 51^n + 57^n + 80^n + 82^n $ and $2^n + 12^n + 31^n + 40^n + 69^n + 71^n + 85^n$ for different values of n.
If you take a three by three square on a 1-10 addition square and
multiply the diagonally opposite numbers together, what is the
difference between these products. Why?
What is the sum of all the digits in all the integers from one to
The sum of the first 'n' natural numbers is a 3 digit number in which all the digits are the same. How many numbers have been summed?
When I type a sequence of letters my calculator gives the product
of all the numbers in the corresponding memories. What numbers
should I store so that when I type 'ONE' it returns 1, and when I
type. . . .
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
Find the numbers in this sum
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. . . .
Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
Number problems at primary level that may require determination.
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?
Skippy and Anna are locked in a room in a large castle. The key to that room, and all the other rooms, is a number. The numbers are locked away in a problem. Can you help them to get out?
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?
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?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
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?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
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?
Can you arrange the digits 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 into three 3-digit
numbers such that their total is close to 1500?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant numbers?
Look on the back of any modern book and you will find an ISBN code. Take this code and calculate this sum in the way shown. Can you see what the answers always have in common?
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
This challenge is to make up YOUR OWN alphanumeric. Each letter
represents a digit and where the same letter appears more than once
it must represent the same digit each time.
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.
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?
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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.
An environment which simulates working with Cuisenaire rods.
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 clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
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?
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?
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?
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.
In this game, you can add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers
on the dice. Which will you do so that you get to the end of the
number line first?
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?
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?
If you have only four weights, where could you place them in order
to balance this equaliser?
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 two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
A game for 2 or more players with a pack of cards. Practise your
skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to hit
the target score.
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
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.
Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?