Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use
numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
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?
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
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?
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. . . .
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
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?
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
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?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the
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?
Use the information to work out how many gifts there are in each
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?
Chandrika was practising a long distance run. Can you work out how
long the race was from the information?
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷)
to make these digits come to 100.
There were 22 legs creeping across the web. How many flies? How many spiders?
Go through the maze, collecting and losing your money as you go.
Which route gives you the highest return? And the lowest?
Can you work out how many flowers there will be on the Amazing Splitting Plant after it has been growing for six weeks?
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?
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?
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.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to
ask? Don't forget to keep visiting NRICH projects site for the
latest developments and questions.
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation
strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most
How would you count the number of fingers in these pictures?
Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the
totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number
of points each of their routes scores.
This task combines spatial awareness with addition and multiplication.
This challenge combines addition, multiplication, perseverance and even proof.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
This number has 903 digits. What is the sum of all 903 digits?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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.
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This
challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
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?
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
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!
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and
multiply them together. How many different products can you find?
How do you know you've got them all?
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
Put a number at the top of the machine and collect a number at the
bottom. What do you get? Which numbers get back to themselves?
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.