Monthly Archives: October 2017

7 New Maths Resources and Ways to Count Sheep!

Welcome to the Transum Newsletter for November 2017 which has a bit of a sheep theme!

The puzzle for this month is about Percy Cod and Patsy Eal who are both shepherds. They keep sheep in adjacent fields near the source of the river mint. Can you work out how many sheep each person owns from the following clues?

  • If Percy sold seven sheep to Patsy, both shepherds would have the same number of sheep.
  • If Patsy sold seven sheep to Percy then Percy would have exactly twice as many sheep as Patsy.


The answer can be found at the end of this newsletter.

Talking of sheep, I would like to recommend the Transum podcast for this month. It has a strong sheep counting theme. Within the podcast there are excerpts from the ‘No Such Thing as a Fish’ podcast and the Chris Evans Radio 2 breakfast show, both discussing the skill of counting sheep.

If you haven’t yet found them there are three sheep related activities on the Transum website: Estimating Sheep is designed to develop your count estimating skills, Herding Sheep introduces Loci  and Coloured Sheep is a quick Maths Lesson Starter involving probability.

If all this sheep counting hasn’t sent you to sleep you might still have the energy to explore the seven new additions to the Transum website last month:

  1. Angle Chase – Find all of the angles on the geometrical diagrams. Knowledge of basic angle theorems (in a triangle, on a line and between parallel lines) is required.
  2. Snake Sort – Sort the coloured snakes in a logical order. This activity introduces systematic listing.
  3. Indices True False – Arrange the given statements involving indices to show whether they are true or false. A knowledge of the laws of indices is required.
  4. Yes No Questions – A game to determine the mathematical item by asking questions that can only be answered yes or no. Includes shapes graphs and mathematical words.
  5. Combinations and Permutations – Learn how to tell the difference between permutations and combinations and use the formulae to answer questions.
  6. Identity, Equation or Formula? – Arrange the given statements in groups to show whether they are identities, equations or formulae.
  7. Birthday Card – A mathematical birthday card which prints on A4 card (double sided). Believe it or not this birthday card also has a sheep counting theme!

Thanks to Felton Davis for sharing his “work of a lifetime” on the Pentominoes page. Felton has created an algorithm to create 2339 solutions which are linked to from the bottom of the pentominoes page.

Thanks also to Christopher Allan who has suggested the following extension to the “A Number” Starter: “When written as a word or words, the smallest positive whole number containing the letter ‘a’ is one hundred and one after which they all contain ‘a’ up to X (but what is X ?).”

The answer to this month’s sheep-owning puzzle can be found by setting up two simultaneous equations. Let the number of sheep owned by Percy be x and the number of sheep owned by Patsy be y.

Sheep Puzzle Solution

Did you also conclude that Percy has 49 sheep and Patsy has 35 sheep?

That’s all for now,


P.S.     f(x) walks into a bar. The barman says, ‘Sorry, we don’t cater for functions!’