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?
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.
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find
out how long they take.
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?
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?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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
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
In this 100 square, look at the green square which contains the numbers 2, 3, 12 and 13. What is the sum of the numbers that are diagonally opposite each other? What do you notice?
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
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?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your opponent.
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
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?
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?
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?
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?
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
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?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which
things could she give exactly the right amount for?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more
than way to do it?
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.
Max and Mandy put their number lines together to make a graph. How
far had each of them moved along and up from 0 to get the counter
to the place marked?
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner
numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
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?
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that
every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
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?
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?
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
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?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
If you have only four weights, where could you place them in order
to balance this equaliser?
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation
strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find out how long they take.