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Writing Digits

Lee was writing all the counting numbers from 1 to 20. She stopped for a rest after writing seventeen digits. What was the last number she wrote?

Mrs Beeswax

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Why do this problem?

This activity is a nice context for getting pupils to explore number bonds to $10$. It also provides opportunities for you to highlight a systematic approach.

Possible approach

It would be good to introduce this pratically so that there are three containers representing the pies and ten counters to represent the coins. You could start by asking a number of children to distribute the counters in the tins to satisfy the rules. Keep a record of the ways that they have found on the board and then give learners time to work in pairs on more solutions.

At some stage, you may want to bring them together to ask how they will know that they have all the different ways. Take some suggestions from the class, and look out for those that realise that a system or order will be necessary. You could go on to complete the problem as a whole group, or give more time to pairs.

Key questions

Tell me about the number of coins you have in each pie.
How are you thinking about this?
Do you think you've found all the possible ways?

Possible extension

Children could change the numbers involved, for example, by finding the number of solutions for a different number of coins and/or a different number of pies.

Possible support

Having counters available for all children to use will help them access this problem. It may be appropriate to have three circles drawn on a piece of paper to represent the pies so that they can move the counters from circle to circle.