In this article for teachers, Elizabeth Carruthers and Maulfry Worthington explore the differences between 'recording mathematics' and 'representing mathematical thinking'.
How could you arrange at least two dice in a stack so that the total of the visible spots is 18?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more than way to do it?
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
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?
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?
Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which things could she give exactly the right amount for?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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?
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.
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of three children. Use the information to find out what the three numbers were.
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on both sides have the same total?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the triangle adds to the same total.
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?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
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.
Amy has a box containing domino pieces but she does not think it is a complete set. She has 24 dominoes in her box and there are 125 spots on them altogether. Which of her domino pieces are missing?
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.
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?
There are three buckets each of which holds a maximum of 5 litres. Use the clues to work out how much liquid there is in each bucket.
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.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
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?
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock face. Can you work out who received each piece?
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?
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?
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.
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?
This is an adding game for two players.
What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different numbers and different rules.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most efficient.
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your opponent.
This task combines spatial awareness with addition and multiplication.
In this calculation, the box represents a missing digit. What could the digit be? What would the solution be in each case?
Investigate the different distances of these car journeys and find out how long they take.
Can you follow the rule to decode the messages?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
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?
In sheep talk the only letters used are B and A. A sequence of words is formed by following certain rules. What do you notice when you count the letters in each word?
As you come down the ladders of the Tall Tower you collect useful spells. Which way should you go to collect the most spells?