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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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1, 2, 3 Magic Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.

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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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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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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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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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Number Juggle

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

Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).

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Magic Squares 4x4

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

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.

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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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3388

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

Using some or all of the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and using the digits 3, 3, 8 and 8 each once and only once make an expression equal to 24.

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Kids

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find the numbers in this sum

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Cayley

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1 ... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?

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Two and Two

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

How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.

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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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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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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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Cherries Come in Twos

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

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?

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Magic Triangle

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

Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the triangle adds to the same total.

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Brothers and Sisters

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Rod Measures

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

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?

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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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One Wasn't Square

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

Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of three children. Use the information to find out what the three numbers were.

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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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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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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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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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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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Reverse Trick

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?