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Broad Topics > Calculations and Numerical Methods > Addition & subtraction

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2010: A Year of Investigations

Stage: 1, 2 and 3

This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.

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Watch the Clock

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Largest Number

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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A Rod and a Pole

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Diagonal Sums

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Lengthy Journeys

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find out how long they take.

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A Numbered Route

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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 possible?

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Four Goodness Sake

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?

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Spell by Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?

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Arrange the Digits

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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The Deca Tree

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Times

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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 find out!

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The Clockmaker's Birthday Cake

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock face. Can you work out who received each piece?

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Oranges and Lemons

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Hot Pursuit

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Kids

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find the numbers in this sum

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Playing Connect Three

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

In this game the winner is the first to complete a row of three. Are some squares easier to land on than others?

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Sam's Quick Sum

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?

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Worms

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Place this "worm" on the 100 square and find the total of the four squares it covers. Keeping its head in the same place, what other totals can you make?

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Oddly

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is odd.

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Highest and Lowest

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.

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Back to School

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Street Sequences

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street in different ways.

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Sort Them Out (2)

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice? How could you sort the cards?

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It Was 2010!

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?

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Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...

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Sorting the Numbers

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Complete these two jigsaws then put one on top of the other. What happens when you add the 'touching' numbers? What happens when you change the position of the jigsaws?

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Follow the Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different numbers and different rules.

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Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for Two

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.

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Making Sense of Positives and Negatives

Stage: 3

This article suggests some ways of making sense of calculations involving positive and negative numbers.

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Six Is the Sum

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?

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Add the Weights

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

If you have only four weights, where could you place them in order to balance this equaliser?

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As Easy as 1,2,3

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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. . . .

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Reach 100

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.

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And So on and So On

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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One Million to Seven

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Start by putting one million (1 000 000) into the display of your calculator. Can you reduce this to 7 using just the 7 key and add, subtract, multiply, divide and equals as many times as you like?

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More Carroll Diagrams

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How have the numbers been placed in this Carroll diagram? Which labels would you put on each row and column?

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Carrying Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Napier's Bones

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Jugs of Wine

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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The Patent Solution

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Digit Sum

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

What is the sum of all the digits in all the integers from one to one million?

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Number Squares

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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The 24 Game

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Calendar Patterns

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice about the answers?

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I'm Eight

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find a great variety of ways of asking questions which make 8.

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X Is 5 Squares

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the way described?

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Some Secret Codes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Can you follow the rule to decode the messages?

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Amazing Card Trick

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How is it possible to predict the card?

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Super Value Shapes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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 given totals?