Tag Archives: Exam-type questions

November 2015 News

Welcome to another month of puzzles, challenges and investigations. I hope you have recovered from Halloween and your pupils weren’t too scared by the 31st October Starter!

Let’s begin with the puzzle for this month. It’s about two chaps called Ant and Dec (how likely is that?)

Ant is thinking of a number which is either 1, 2 or 3. What one question could Dec ask him to find out what number he is thinking of if Ant can only answer either yes, no or I don’t know?

I think you will need some thinking time to figure that one out. The answer is at the bottom of this newsletter after a round up of the new items on the Transum website.

Plastic Numbers

Pupils do the Hot Number Challenges with ten numbered tiles.

First to be mentioned is Hot Number Challenges. This is a new Shine + Write resource designed to be projected in front of a class of pupils who each have ten cards numbers nought to nine. Keep the variety in Maths lessons by doing something like this once in a while. The challenges are increasing order of difficulty and are suitable for upper Primary up to those Year 12 students who really need a reminder of the properties of numbers.

Now that knowledge of Roman numerals is specifically mentioned in the English National Curriculum you are no doubt looking for resources to teach and reinforce the structure of the system. The Roman Numerals Jigsaw is just what you have been looking for. It’s an interesting challenge that makes the learning a little different. There is also a more traditional quiz to go with it that contains a number of different levels matching the National Curriculum.

Sneakily reusing the code that made the jigsaw mentioned above work it was quite easy to produce more traditional Number Jigsaws and a Tetromino/Pentomino challenge.

Continuing to fill the gaps the Mileometer quiz tests the ability to convert between miles and kilometres. The twelve questions are arranged in increasing order of difficulty with quite a challenge at the end.

The latest activity, which only went live at the weekend, is Venn Paint. This is clearly aimed at the older student who needs practice recognising intersections, unions and complements on two and three set Venn diagrams.

Finally it might be worth reminding you that there are hundreds of exam style questions available on the site and you, as a Transum Subscriber, get access to the worked solutions. Many of the questions have been adapted from the new GCSE(9-1) specimen papers which were published recently.

The answer to this month’s puzzle is “I’m thinking of either one or two. Is the number that you are thinking of larger than mine?”

If Ant answers Yes he is thinking of 3
If Ant answers No he is thinking of 1
If Ant answers I don’t know he is thinking of 2

Enjoy November


ps. Why did all the metres run from the 1000m race?

They were scared of the killer metre at the end.

May 2015 News

It’s an old joke but this newsletter is being written on Star Wars Day, ‘May The Fourth Be With You!’

The puzzle for this month is not, on the surface, strictly mathematical but, as you’ll see from the answer at the end of this newsletter, there is some mathematical debate as to the correct answer. It is however a puzzle that can keep you thinking throughout the day and keep your mind active during coffee breaks, jogging sessions or when the output of the TV is not really very engaging.

Here it is. Find the number which when written as a word has all the letters in alphabetical order and then find the first number to contain the letter A.

While you are thinking about that here is some information about the updates on the Transum website made during this last month.

Mystic Rose

Mystic Rose

The first activity worth mentioning this month is called Mystic Rose. It’s an old idea made interactive. It initially seems as though the number sequence created by the number of regions in the roses is simply powers of two but as you get to the 6th term of the sequence there is a surprise in store.

This activity comes with some printable sheets which makes the counting process a lot easier. The sheets can also be used for other investigations such as the two-colour theorem or finding polygons in the patterns of lines. This activity can produce some stunning display work.

The ‘Learn a times table in five days’ page has been brought up to date with a reorganising of the activities and cartoon-like pictures added for all 121 multiplication facts. These pictures, designed to help a person remember whichever multiplication fact they can’t get into their heads, are collected into an easily accessible click grid for Transum subscribers.

The Tablesmaster results page has also been updated so that a pupil can see the memory-aiding picture for the multiplication fact that took longest to recall. I hope this addition contributes towards times table learning around the world.

For those of you working in an IB school you may be interested to hear that additional worked solutions have been added to the Exam-Style Questions pages. Most of the worked solutions contain relevant TI-nSpire screen shots. It is hoped this resource will be just as useful for A-level teachers as the content is so similar.

Finally the answer to the puzzle. Forty is the number that has its letters in alphabetical order and the first number to contain the letter A is either a thousand or one hundred and one. You can see the discussion this puzzle generated on the 7th October Starter page.

Good luck to everyone involved in this exam season. Just remember that Transum has some less demanding, fun activities for you to enjoy when it is all over.


ps.If it is cold, go and stand in the corner, because it is 90 degrees there!

April 2015 News

Welcome to the April 2015 edition of the Transum Mathematics Newsletter. Did you start the month off with the April Fool’s Starter? Did your pupils fall for it?

Your puzzle for this month is about a game called Best Dice in which two people roll a dice and whoever gets the higher number wins. A prize is awarded to the person winning most times after 100 games. The catch is the dice don’t have the numbers one to six on their faces.

There are four different dice and you are allowed to choose which dice you will play with.

Best Dice

Best Dice

  • The red dice has threes on all of its faces.
  • The blue dice has four fours and two zeros.
  • The yellow dice has three fives and three ones.
  • The green dice has four twos and two sevens.

Which dice would you choose to give you the best chance of winning the prize? The answer can be found at the end of this newsletter.

There have been many pages added and updated during this last month. A new puzzle called Numskull  is designed to provide a relaxing logic challenge where the mathematics involved is suitable for upper Primary pupils. There are five levels differing by the number of clues available.

For older students a Number Systems Venn Diagrams activity provides a quick but effective revision task. The objective is to drag the numbers in to the correct layer of the concentric circles. The software checks the correctness of the placings.

Also for older students is a rapidly growing database of Exam-Type Questions and their worked solutions. There are currently 90 questions and answers in the database but more are being added regularly. They are similar to questions that have appeared on IB Standard, Maths Studies and GCSE examinations but have all had the wording and numbers changed to make them different to past-paper questions you may find elsewhere. The solutions can be revealed line by line making a great teaching tool for the classroom.

Though not specifically mathematical a Scheduling puzzle has been added to provide a little more variety to the Transum Puzzles page. It’s not too difficult and the software shows you which criteria you have and have not fulfilled when you choose to check your solution. I’d love to know if you decide to use it with your pupils.

I’m not sure how we managed so long with out a traditional fractions, decimals and percentages  conversion activity on the Transum website. Now there’s a Starter, an interactive pupil activity and a revision presentation on this important topic.

The answer to the puzzle posed at the beginning of this newsletter is a bit like rock, paper, scissors. Whichever dice you choose, your opponent could always pick one of the remaining dice which has a better chance of beating you in the long term. Construct the possibility spaces for the possible dice pairings to see for yourself.

Blue beats red, red beats green, green beats yellow and yellow beats blue! You can see why in the answers section of the Best Dice Starter page.

Have a happy Easter, Songkran or whatever you may be celebrating in April.


ps . What do you call a saucepan of simmering soup on top of a mountain?

… A high-pot-in-use!