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Problems To solve in Primary

school maThemaTics

b henry

AM T P u b l i s h i n g
ii Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

How to Use This Book


It is generally considered that there are two aspects to the teaching of problem solving:
1. Teach techniques (such as working backwards or making a table) and provide problems which practise
these techniques.
2. Provide a miscellany of problems, have students try to solve these and discuss techniques as they arise.
This book is useful in both situations. When practice with a particular strategy is required, by consulting
the tables on the next pages, the teacher can select appropriate problems. On the other hand, when a
miscellany of problems is required, the teacher can select problems from a suitable area of study. Within
each area of study, the problems are arranged in approximate order of difficulty.
A class can all be given the same problem, or different groups given different problems, perhaps with the
better students working on the harder parts of a problem. The problems could be part of class work or be
set as homework, or could be part of a ‘Problem of the Week’ program.
Preface iii

Solve a Simpler Problem


List All Possibilities

Look for a Pattern


Guess and Check
Work Backwards

Draw a Diagram
Make a Table

Find a Rule
Use Logic
Page
Number A-mazing 1 •
Buckets and Beanbags 3 • •
Lucy Likes Darts 5 • • •
Numbers in a Line 7 •
Doubles 9 •
Adding Even and Odd Numbers 11 • •
Multiplying Even and Odd Numbers 13 • •
Digits 15 •
Consecutive Counting Numbers 17 • •
Plus and Minus 19 • •
5 and 7 21 • •
4×4 23 •
Ten Cards 25 • •
Decode 1 27 •
Decode 2 29 •
Number Tower 31 • • •
Threedub 33 • • •
Square Numbers 35 • • •
Sums of Square Numbers 37 • •
Patterns of Consecutive Numbers 39 • • •
Plus, Minus, Times 41 • •
Brian’s Numbers 43 • •
Numbers in Words 45 •
Sum and Product 47 • •
Square Sums 49 •
Counters 51 •
Divisibility 53 •
Stamps 55 • •
Steps 57 • •
Triangular Numbers 59 •
Tables Crossnumber 61 • • •
The Funpark 63 • • •
Multiplying Digits 65 • •
Digits in a Square 67 • •
Mystery Times Table 69 • •
iv Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

Solve a Simpler Problem


List All Possibilities

Look for a Pattern


Guess and Check
Work Backwards

Draw a Diagram
Make a Table

Find a Rule
Use Logic
Page
Space Animal Photos 71 • •
Maths Word Trail 73 • •
Mystic Rose 75 • • •
Rectangle Jigsaws 78 • • •
Tetrominoes 80 • • •
Coloured Cube 83 •
Tiling 85 • •
Chessboard Pieces 89 •
Triangular Rectangles 92 • •
Shapes on a Triangle Grid 95 • • •
Tetracubes 97 •
Four Shapes 99 •
Measurement Units 103 •
Paper Clips and Counters 105 • • • •
The School Sports 107 • • •
Biggest 109 • •
Domino Boxes 111 • •
Two Clocks 113 • •
Logic Maths Words 115 • •
Counters and Squares 117 • •
Number Crossword 120 • • •
Pets and Cards 122 • •
Three Boys 124 • •
Four Girls 126 • •
Weighings 128 • •
Seven Birthdays 130 •
Number
Number 1

A-mazing

Lee drew this maze. You enter at the top ..................................................................................................................................


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His total was 8 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 2 = 25. ENTER → 8 1 6 ...


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a Find a path which gives you a total of 24. .....


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b Find the path which gives the largest total. ................................................................................................................................


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c Find the path which gives the smallest total. ..................................................................................................................................


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2 Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

Teacher’s Notes – A-mazing


The problem provides practice in addition and in checking all possibilities.
The maze is in fact a magic square of order 3 - all the rows, columns and diagonals add to 15.
Solutions
There are 6 possible paths:
8 + 1 + 6 + 7 + 2 = 24
8 + 1 + 5 + 7 + 2 = 23
8 + 1 + 5 + 9 + 2 = 25
8 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 2 = 25
8 + 3 + 5 + 9 + 2 = 27
8 + 3 + 4 + 9 + 2 = 26
Hence the solutions are:
a 8 + 1 + 6 + 7 + 2 = 24
b 8 + 3 + 5 + 9 + 2 = 27
c 8 + 1 + 5 + 7 + 2 = 23

Extensions
1. Suppose you can go up, down, left or right in the maze, but cannot visit the same square more than once.
What is the largest total you can get now?
2. Enter the maze in the original problem as before, travel either right or down. This time, multiply the
numbers in the boxes you pass through until you go out the exit. What is the largest product you can
get?
Solutions to Extensions
1. 8 + 3 + 4 + 9 + 5 + 1 + 6 + 7 + 2 = 45 OR 8 + 1 + 6 + 7 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 9 + 2 = 45.
You can visit each square once.
2. For the 6 paths given above, the largest product is 8 × 3 × 5 × 9 × 2 = 2160.
Number 3

Buckets and Beanbags

Rose and Holly each had four small beanbags.


They were trying to throw them into a bucket.
Rose threw her four bags. Two went in. Her score was 2.
Holly threw her four bags. Some went in the bucket.
Rose threw her four bags again. Three went in. Her total score was now
2 + 3 = 5.
Holly threw her four bags again. Some went in. Her total score was now 6.

a How many bags might Holly have got in on her first and second throws?
Is there another way she could have scored on each throw?
Is there a third way she could have scored on each throw?
b Rose and Holly each had another turn. Their total scores were now the
same.
Complete this table to show what Rose must have scored for each of Holly’s
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If Holly scored ... then Rose scored ...


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Explain why Holly could not have scored 4.
c At the start of another game, Holly took two turns and scored a total 4.
List all the ways she could have scored.
4 Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

Teacher’s Notes – Buckets and Beanbags


The problem gives practice in partitioning and checking all cases.
The children could be given beanbags or tennis balls and buckets and act it out.
Solutions
a All the possibilities are 4 and 2, 2 and 4, 3 and 3.
b
If Holly scored ... then Rose scored ...
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3 4

If Holly scored 4, Rose could not score enough to make the total scores equal.
c (0, 4), (1, 3), (2, 2), (3, 1), (4, 0).

Extension
Holly now took all 8 beanbags and had two turns at throwing them into the bucket.
Her total score was 10.
Make a list of all the ways this could have happened (for example, 3 on the first turn, 7 on the second turn).
Solution to Extension
(2, 8), (3, 7), (4, 6), (5, 5), (6, 4), (7, 3), (8, 2).
Number 5

Lucy Likes Darts

Lucy throws darts at this target. ........


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She throws 2 darts. She adds the 2 numbers together. Her score is 8.
a What could her numbers have been?
Is there another way she could have scored?
b After her third throw, her total score was 13. Where did her third dart hit?
c Lucy throws a fourth dart. Explain why her total score is now even.
d Lucy threw 17 darts for a total of 80.
Explain why she must have made a mistake in her adding up.
6 Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

Teacher’s Notes – Lucy Likes Darts


The problem provides practice in addition and subtraction in an unusual setting. It also gives an opportunity
to discuss generalisation.
A discussion about odd and even numbers after the problem has been completed is worthwhile.
Solutions
a (3 and 5), (5 and 3), (1 and 7) or (7 and 1).
b 5.
c Alternative i
If she hits 1, her score is 13 + 1 = 14 (even).
If she hits 3, her score is 13 + 3 = 16 (even).
If she hits 5, her score is 13 + 5 = 18 (even).
If she hits 7, her score is 13 + 7 = 20 (even).
So it is always even.
Alternative ii
Each of 1, 3, 5 and 7 is odd, and 13 is odd. But two odd numbers add to an even number, so the total is
always even.
d Lucy is adding 17 odd numbers together. The total must be odd.

Extensions
1. What is the smallest total Lucy could have after she has thrown 4 darts and all the darts hit the board?
What is the largest total she could have after throwing 4 darts and all the darts hit the board?
2. Lucy throws some darts and gets a total of 15. What is the smallest number of darts she could have
thrown?
Solutions to Extensions
1. Smallest total = 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4.
Largest total = 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 = 28.
2. Largest score from 2 darts is 7 + 7 = 14, so she must throw at least 3 darts. 3 darts is enough – she
might throw 7 + 7 + 1 = 15, or 7 + 5 + 3, etc.