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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
Number problems at primary level that may require resilience.
Fill in the missing numbers so that adding each pair of corner numbers gives you the number between them (in the box).
This article for primary teachers encourages exploration of two fundamental ideas, exchange and 'unitising', which will help children become more fluent when calculating.
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?
In this article for primary teachers, Lynne McClure outlines what is meant by fluency in the context of number and explains how our selection of NRICH tasks can help.
Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on both sides have the same total?
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 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?
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?
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?
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?
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
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 article suggests some ways of making sense of calculations involving positive and negative numbers.
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!
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.
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 jugs.
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.
This group activity will encourage you to share calculation strategies and to think about which strategy might be the most efficient.
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.
How would you count the number of fingers in these pictures?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates yourself.
Number problems at primary level to work on with others.
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.