How can we help students make sense of addition and subtraction of negative numbers?
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
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. . . .
Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.
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.
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?
Crosses can be drawn on number grids of various sizes. What do you notice when you add opposite ends?
This number has 903 digits. What is the sum of all 903 digits?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
What is the sum of all the digits in all the integers from one to
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
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. . . .
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.
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?
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
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?
Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number.
Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this
process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?
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?
In the following sum the letters A, B, C, D, E and F stand for six
distinct digits. Find all the ways of replacing the letters with
digits so that the arithmetic is correct.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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
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.
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
Put the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 into the squares so that the
numbers on each circle add up to the same amount. Can you find the
rule for giving another set of six numbers?
Here is a chance to play a version of the classic Countdown Game.
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?
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.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
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?
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
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?
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.
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
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.
Number problems at primary level that may require determination.
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?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
This is an adding game for two players.
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 is happening at each box in these machines?