A combination mechanism for a safe comprises thirty-two tumblers
numbered from one to thirty-two in such a way that the numbers in
each wheel total 132... Could you open the safe?
If you take a three by three square on a 1-10 addition square and
multiply the diagonally opposite numbers together, what is the
difference between these products. Why?
When I type a sequence of letters my calculator gives the product
of all the numbers in the corresponding memories. What numbers
should I store so that when I type 'ONE' it returns 1, and when I
type. . . .
What is the largest number you can make using the three digits 2, 3
and 4 in any way you like, using any operations you like? You can
only use each digit once.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
The clockmaker's wife cut up his birthday cake to look like a clock
face. Can you work out who received each piece?
Can you arrange the digits 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 into three 3-digit
numbers such that their total is close to 1500?
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.
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your opponent.
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
Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more
than way to do it?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
The value of the circle changes in each of the following problems. Can you discover its value in each problem?
Katie had a pack of 20 cards numbered from 1 to 20. She arranged
the cards into 6 unequal piles where each pile added to the same
total. What was the total and how could this be done?
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?
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?
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
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?
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?
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on
both sides have the same total?
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!
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?
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
What is happening at each box in these machines?
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
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
Use 4 four times with simple operations so that you get the answer 12. Can you make 15, 16 and 17 too?
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?
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?
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.
In this game, you can add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers
on the dice. Which will you do so that you get to the end of the
number line first?
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?
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.
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?
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?
An environment which simulates working with Cuisenaire rods.
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
A game for 2 or more players with a pack of cards. Practise your
skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to hit
the target score.
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, focuses on 'open squares'. What would the next five open squares look like?
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.
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?
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?
A game for 2 people using a pack of cards Turn over 2 cards and try
to make an odd number or a multiple of 3.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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?
Here is a chance to play a version of the classic Countdown Game.
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...