Working Systematically at KS2

Scroll down to see our complete collection of KS2 problems that require children to work systematically, or explore the two sub-collections focusing on important aspects of systematic working.
Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Finding All Possibilities Upper Primary

These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Ordered Ways of Working Upper Primary

These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.



Beads and Bags

Age 5 to 11
Challenge Level

How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?

Half Time

Age 5 to 11
Challenge Level

What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey matches?

Sitting Round the Party Tables

Age 5 to 11
Challenge Level

Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.

School Fair Necklaces

Age 5 to 11
Challenge Level

How many possible necklaces can you find? And how do you know you've found them all?

Buying a Balloon

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?

Guess the Dominoes

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This task depends on learners sharing reasoning, listening to opinions, reflecting and pulling ideas together.

Nine-pin Triangles

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?

Fifteen Cards

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Can you use the information to find out which cards I have used?

What Do You Need?

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

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?

Trebling

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Can you replace the letters with numbers? Is there only one solution in each case?

Cubes Here and There

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?

A Square of Numbers

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four calculations are correct?

Magic Vs

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?

A Mixed-up Clock

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

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?

Finding Fifteen

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Tim had nine cards each with a different number from 1 to 9 on it. How could he have put them into three piles so that the total in each pile was 15?

Prison Cells

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall of the prison block. How did he do it?

Light the Lights Again

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Each light in this interactivity turns on according to a rule. What happens when you enter different numbers? Can you find the smallest number that lights up all four lights?

All the Digits

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

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?

Display Boards

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.

This Pied Piper of Hamelin

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!

Two Primes Make One Square

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?

Button-up Some More

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?

Sealed Solution

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?

Cover the Tray

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.

Counting Cards

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?

Ribbon Squares

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?

5 on the Clock

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

On a digital clock showing 24 hour time, over a whole day, how many times does a 5 appear? Is it the same number for a 12 hour clock over a whole day?

Curious Number

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

Can you order the digits from 1-3 to make a number which is divisible by 3 so when the last digit is removed it becomes a 2-figure number divisible by 2, and so on?

The Dice Train

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This dice train has been made using specific rules. How many different trains can you make?

The Remainders Game

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

Play this game and see if you can figure out the computer's chosen number.

First Connect Three

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

Add or subtract the two numbers on the spinners and try to complete a row of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?

Make 37

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.

Reach 100

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.

Factor Lines

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.

Inky Cube

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

This cube has ink on each face which leaves marks on paper as it is rolled. Can you work out what is on each face and the route it has taken?

Tea Cups

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level

Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4 arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or saucer of the same colour.