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.
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?
Nowadays the calculator is very familiar to many of us. What did
people do to save time working out more difficult problems before
the calculator existed?
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. . . .
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.
The number 3723(in base 10) is written as 123 in another base. What
is that base?
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.
Four strategy dice games to consolidate pupils' understanding of rounding.
32 x 38 = 30 x 40 + 2 x 8; 34 x 36 = 30 x 40 + 4 x 6; 56 x 54 = 50
x 60 + 6 x 4; 73 x 77 = 70 x 80 + 3 x 7 Verify and generalise if
What is the sum of all the digits in all the integers from one to
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!
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
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?
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. . . .
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Watch our videos of multiplication methods that you may not have met before. Can you make sense of them?
Think of a two digit number, reverse the digits, and add the numbers together. Something special happens...
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?
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?
Explore the relationship between simple linear functions and their
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
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?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Can you complete this calculation by filling in the missing numbers? In how many different ways can you do it?
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
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
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
Have a go at balancing this equation. Can you find different ways of doing it?
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?
How many more miles must the car travel before the numbers on the milometer and the trip meter contain the same digits in the same order?
Can you work out some different ways to balance this equation?
A school song book contains 700 songs. The numbers of the songs are displayed by combining special small single-digit boards. What is the minimum number of small boards that is needed?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
Exploring the structure of a number square: how quickly can you put the number tiles in the right place on the grid?
Number problems for inquiring primary learners.
There are six numbers written in five different scripts. Can you sort out which is which?
Which is quicker, counting up to 30 in ones or counting up to 300 in tens? Why?
Number problems at primary level that may require determination.
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?
Investigate the different ways these aliens count in this
challenge. You could start by thinking about how each of them would
write our number 7.
This addition sum uses all ten digits 0, 1, 2...9 exactly once.
Find the sum and show that the one you give is the only
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" .
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. . . .
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.
How many six digit numbers are there which DO NOT contain a 5?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
Can you show that 1^99 + 2^99 + 3^99 + 4^99 + 5^99 is divisible by
Amazing as it may seem the three fives remaining in the following
`skeleton' are sufficient to reconstruct the entire long division