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You are on page 1of 11

school maThemaTics

b henry

AM T P u b l i s h i n g

ii Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

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

List All Possibilities

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

List All Possibilities

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

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2 Problems to Solve in Primary School Mathematics

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

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

possible scores.

0

1

2

3

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

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 ...

0 1

1 2

2 3

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

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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

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.

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