Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Three people chose this as a favourite problem. It is the sort of
problem that needs thinking time - but once the connection is made
it gives access to many similar ideas.
Can you show that 1^99 + 2^99 + 3^99 + 4^99 + 5^99 is divisible by
Think of any three-digit number. Repeat the digits. The 6-digit
number that you end up with is divisible by 91. Is this a
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3
digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits
you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Amazing as it may seem the three fives remaining in the following
`skeleton' are sufficient to reconstruct the entire long division
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?
Watch our videos of multiplication methods that you may not have met before. Can you make sense of them?
We are used to writing numbers in base ten, using 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Eg. 75 means 7 tens and five units. This article explains how numbers can be written in any number base.
Number problems at primary level that may require determination.
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.
Four of these clues are needed to find the chosen number on this
grid and four are true but do nothing to help in finding the
number. Can you sort out the clues and find the number?
Using balancing scales what is the least number of weights needed
to weigh all integer masses from 1 to 1000? Placing some of the
weights in the same pan as the object how many are needed?
Take any four digit number. Move the first digit to the 'back of
the queue' and move the rest along. Now add your two numbers. What
properties do your answers always have?
Can you complete this calculation by filling in the missing numbers? In how many different ways can you do it?
Can you work out some different ways to balance this equation?
Have a go at balancing this equation. Can you find different ways of doing it?
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
When asked how old she was, the teacher replied: My age in years is
not prime but odd and when reversed and added to my age you have a
This article for the young and old talks about the origins of our number system and the important role zero has to play in it.
A church hymn book contains 700 hymns. The numbers of the hymns are
displayed by combining special small single-digit boards. What is
the minimum number of small boards that is needed?
Choose two digits and arrange them to make two double-digit
numbers. Now add your double-digit numbers. Now add your single
digit numbers. Divide your double-digit answer by your single-digit
answer. . . .
Four strategy dice games to consolidate pupils' understanding of rounding.
What is the sum of all the digits in all the integers from one to
Which is quicker, counting up to 30 in ones or counting up to 300 in tens? Why?
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
Can you replace the letters with numbers? Is there only one solution in each case?
Becky created a number plumber which multiplies by 5 and subtracts
4. What do you notice about the numbers that it produces? Can you
explain your findings?
Explore the relationship between simple linear functions and their
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
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?
In the multiplication calculation, some of the digits have been replaced by letters and others by asterisks. Can you reconstruct the original multiplication?
The number 3723(in base 10) is written as 123 in another base. What
is that base?
Take the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and imagine them written down in
every possible order to give 5 digit numbers. Find the sum of the
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
How many six digit numbers are there which DO NOT contain a 5?
Follow the clues to find the mystery number.
When the number x 1 x x x is multiplied by 417 this gives the
answer 9 x x x 0 5 7. Find the missing digits, each of which is
represented by an "x" .
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
There are two forms of counting on Vuvv - Zios count in base 3 and
Zepts count in base 7. One day four of these creatures, two Zios
and two Zepts, sat on the summit of a hill to count the legs of. . . .
This multiplication uses each of the digits 0 - 9 once and once only. Using the information given, can you replace the stars in the calculation with figures?
How many positive integers less than or equal to 4000 can be
written down without using the digits 7, 8 or 9?
This is a game in which your counters move in a spiral round the snail's shell. It is about understanding tens and units.
Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the
digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove
that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.
You have two sets of the digits 0 – 9. Can you arrange these in the five boxes to make four-digit numbers as close to the target numbers as possible?
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down
all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur
most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
This article, written for teachers, looks at the different kinds of
recordings encountered in Primary Mathematics lessons and the
importance of not jumping to conclusions!
Think of a two digit number, reverse the digits, and add the numbers together. Something special happens...
Exploring the structure of a number square: how quickly can you put the number tiles in the right place on the grid?