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Broad Topics > Calculations and Numerical Methods > Addition & subtraction

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Calendar Patterns

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice about the answers?

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Folded Number Line

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

When I fold a 0-20 number line, I end up with 'stacks' of numbers on top of each other. These challenges involve varying the length of the number line and investigating the 'stack totals'.

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Number Squares

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?

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Street Sequences

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street in different ways.

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Follow the Numbers

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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.

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Dodecamagic

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Month Mania

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?

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Next Number

Age 7 to 11 Short Challenge Level:

Find the next number in this pattern: 3, 7, 19, 55 ...

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It Was 2010!

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?

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Abundant Numbers

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Sorting the Numbers

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Complete these two jigsaws then put one on top of the other. What happens when you add the 'touching' numbers? What happens when you change the position of the jigsaws?

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Painting Possibilities

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .

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Neighbours

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Exploring Wild & Wonderful Number Patterns

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.

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Balance of Halves

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Investigate this balance which is marked in halves. If you had a weight on the left-hand 7, where could you hang two weights on the right to make it balance?

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Carrying Cards

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Prompt Cards

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is numerical, one geometric.

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Sending Cards

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This challenge asks you to investigate the total number of cards that would be sent if four children send one to all three others. How many would be sent if there were five children? Six?

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Magic Constants

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?

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Train Carriages

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways that this can be done?

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Function Machines

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

If the numbers 5, 7 and 4 go into this function machine, what numbers will come out?

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Sometimes We Lose Things

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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.

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A Rod and a Pole

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Hubble, Bubble

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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The Puzzling Sweet Shop

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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!

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Clock Face

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Where can you draw a line on a clock face so that the numbers on both sides have the same total?

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Diagonal in a Spiral

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Investigate the totals you get when adding numbers on the diagonal of this pattern in threes.

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One Wasn't Square

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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.

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Napier's Bones

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Penta Post

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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On Target

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different ways could you score 44?

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Scoring with Dice

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Digit Addition

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Try out this number trick. What happens with different starting numbers? What do you notice?

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Spell by Numbers

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?

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Machines

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What is happening at each box in these machines?

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Zios and Zepts

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Open Squares

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, focuses on 'open squares'. What would the next five open squares look like?

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Times

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Which times on a digital clock have a line of symmetry? Which look the same upside-down? You might like to try this investigation and find out!

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Pouring the Punch Drink

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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.

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Maze 100

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you go through this maze so that the numbers you pass add to exactly 100?

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Reverse Trick

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Sisters and Brothers

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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It's All about 64

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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.

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A Mixed-up Clock

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Bean Bags for Bernard's Bag

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

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Add 3 Dice

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways to do. . . .

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Throw a 100

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you score 100 by throwing rings on this board? Is there more than way to do it?

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Numbered Cars

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

I was looking at the number plate of a car parked outside. Using my special code S208VBJ adds to 65. Can you crack my code and use it to find out what both of these number plates add up to?

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Christmas Shopping

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Vera is shopping at a market with these coins in her purse. Which things could she give exactly the right amount for?