Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
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?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
Use the information to work out how many gifts there are in each
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This
challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates
Chandrika was practising a long distance run. Can you work out how
long the race was from the information?
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
Twizzle, a female giraffe, needs transporting to another zoo. Which
route will give the fastest journey?
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 fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to
generate it with just one number used twice.
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.
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
Go through the maze, collecting and losing your money as you go.
Which route gives you the highest return? And the lowest?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷)
to make these digits come to 100.
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?
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
At the beginning of May Tom put his tomato plant outside. On the
same day he sowed a bean in another pot. When will the two be the
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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?
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
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?
This number has 903 digits. What is the sum of all 903 digits?
Claire thinks she has the most sports cards in her album. "I have
12 pages with 2 cards on each page", says Claire. Ross counts his
cards. "No! I have 3 cards on each of my pages and there are. . . .
Can you work out how many flowers there will be on the Amazing Splitting Plant after it has been growing for six weeks?
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 problem is designed to help children to learn, and to use, the two and three times tables.
There were 22 legs creeping across the web. How many flies? How many spiders?
Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
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?
A group of children are using measuring cylinders but they lose the
labels. Can you help relabel them?
There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and
lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children
buy with their money?
Cherri, Saxon, Mel and Paul are friends. They are all different
ages. Can you find out the age of each friend using the
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?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number
of points each of their routes scores.
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
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?
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?