Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
On a calculator, make 15 by using only the 2 key and any of the four operations keys. How many ways can you find to do it?
On the planet Vuv there are two sorts of creatures. The Zios have 3 legs and the Zepts have 7 legs. The great planetary explorer Nico counted 52 legs. How many Zios and how many Zepts were there?
Number problems at primary level that may require resilience.
Look on the back of any modern book and you will find an ISBN code. Take this code and calculate this sum in the way shown. Can you see what the answers always have in common?
Fill in the numbers to make the sum of each row, column and diagonal equal to 34. For an extra challenge try the huge American Flag magic square.
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?
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
Use the information to work out how many gifts there are in each pile.
Find another number that is one short of a square number and when you double it and add 1, the result is also a square number.
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant numbers?
I throw three dice and get 5, 3 and 2. Add the scores on the three dice. What do you get? Now multiply the scores. What do you notice?
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what numbers will come out?
Try adding together the dates of all the days in one week. Now multiply the first date by 7 and add 21. Can you explain what happens?
Using 3 rods of integer lengths, none longer than 10 units and not using any rod more than once, you can measure all the lengths in whole units from 1 to 10 units. How many ways can you do this?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the triangle adds to the same total.
Tell your friends that you have a strange calculator that turns numbers backwards. What secret number do you have to enter to make 141 414 turn around?
Arrange three 1s, three 2s and three 3s in this square so that every row, column and diagonal adds to the same total.
Annie cut this numbered cake into 3 pieces with 3 cuts so that the numbers on each piece added to the same total. Where were the cuts and what fraction of the whole cake was each piece?
Rocco ran in a 200 m race for his class. Use the information to find out how many runners there were in the race and what Rocco's finishing position was.
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on both sides have the same total?
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.
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
What is the sum of all the three digit whole numbers?
Bernard Bagnall recommends some primary school problems which use numbers from the environment around us, from clocks to house numbers.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Skippy and Anna are locked in a room in a large castle. The key to that room, and all the other rooms, is a number. The numbers are locked away in a problem. Can you help them to get out?
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find out how long they take.
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
If each of these three shapes has a value, can you find the totals of the combinations? Perhaps you can use the shapes to make the given totals?
There are over sixty different ways of making 24 by adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing all four numbers 4, 6, 6 and 8 (using each number only once). How many can you find?
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most efficient.
Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, invites you to explore the different combinations of scores that you might get on these dart boards.
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different ways could you score 44?
Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears, yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
This activity is best done with a whole class or in a large group. Can you match the cards? What happens when you add pairs of the numbers together?
A lady has a steel rod and a wooden pole and she knows the length of each. How can she measure out an 8 unit piece of pole?
There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children buy with their money?
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?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
This dice train has been made using specific rules. How many different trains can you make?
Cassandra, David and Lachlan are brothers and sisters. They range in age between 1 year and 14 years. Can you figure out their exact ages from the clues?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Write the numbers up to 64 in an interesting way so that the shape they make at the end is interesting, different, more exciting ... than just a square.
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which things could she give exactly the right amount for?