Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
If you have ten counters numbered 1 to 10, how many can you put into pairs that add to 10? Which ones do you have to leave out? Why?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
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
This article gives you a few ideas for understanding the Got It! game and how you might find a winning strategy.
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
Can you hang weights in the right place to make the equaliser
Number problems at primary level that may require determination.
Can you make a train the same length as Laura's but using three differently coloured rods? Is there only one way of doing it?
Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number
system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a
look at the multiplications table.
Noah saw 12 legs walk by into the Ark. How many creatures did he see?
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?
Use the interactivities to fill in these Carroll diagrams. How do you know where to place the numbers?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
On the table there is a pile of oranges and lemons that weighs
exactly one kilogram. Using the information, can you work out how
many lemons there are?
An environment which simulates working with Cuisenaire rods.
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?
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This
challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
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?
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.
Here is a chance to play a version of the classic Countdown Game.
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
Add the sum of the squares of four numbers between 10 and 20 to the
sum of the squares of three numbers less than 6 to make the square
of another, larger, number.
If you have only four weights, where could you place them in order
to balance this equaliser?
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
How have the numbers been placed in this Carroll diagram? Which labels would you put on each row and column?
Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
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?
Start by putting one million (1 000 000) into the display of your
calculator. Can you reduce this to 7 using just the 7 key and add,
subtract, multiply, divide and equals as many times as you like?
Here are the prices for 1st and 2nd class mail within the UK. You have an unlimited number of each of these stamps. Which stamps would you need to post a parcel weighing 825g?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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?
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!
If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what
numbers will come out?
These sixteen children are standing in four lines of four, one behind the other. They are each holding a card with a number on it. Can you work out the missing numbers?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
There are three baskets, a brown one, a red one and a pink one, holding a total of 10 eggs. Can you use the information given to find out how many eggs are in each basket?
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?
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
Can you draw a continuous line through 16 numbers on this grid so
that the total of the numbers you pass through is as high as
Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the
next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?