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It Was 2010!

Age 5 to 11
Challenge Level

It Was 2010!

At the start of a new year teachers often like to use the number of that year.

Well I know that some teachers often use an idea like,
teacher 8?

The pupils would get things like:

$16 \div 2$
$20 - 4 - 4 - 4$
$6 + 2$

So here's a challenge to make an answer of $2010$
2nd teacher

You could try things like:
$$2000 + 10 \quad\quad 201 \times 10\quad\quad 500 + 1000 + 500 + 5 + 5$$

even this

$$19^2 +25^2 + 32^2$$

Don't forget you might like to use calculators or computers!

See what different questions you can find and compare yours with others.
Perhaps you can make up one that is easy, one that is harder and one that is very hard.

Now that $2010$ has passed try the same for the year we have now!

Why do this problem?

This activity is very useful when you have a very wide attainment range within your class. It enables pupils to use whatever knowledge and skills they have, and it can inspire them to try to get to grips with new calculations that they may well not have come across before. It therefore provides a fantastic assessment opportunity for you.

Possible approach

This activity needs little introduction. You can simply ask the question orally, or have it written on the board at the start of the day/lesson. You may like to give a few minutes and then ask children to think of a harder example than the one/s they have already devised. After a few more minutes, ask them to make an even harder example.

You may want to give the group time to share what they have done with a partner as talking with someone else may well inspire individuals to try something different.

Use the time that they are working to walk around the room and observe. You may be surprised by the inventiveness of some children and equally by the 'safeness' of others. You could use the opportunity to engage in conversation with some learners, perhaps because you notice a pattern in the way they are working.

Key questions

Tell me about the ones you found.
How are you finding new questions?
Could you use more/fewer numbers?
Have you thought about decimals/fractions/square numbers/negative numbers?

Possible extension

Encourage pupils to try other ways of getting that answer.
Alternatively, you could try "The answer's $1$, what's the question?" and/or "The answer's $0$, what's the question?".

Possible support

Some children might find it useful to start with the I'm Eight activity, possibly using counters as well as calculators.