Transum Mathematics

Starter of the Day activities for May

This page provides an alphabetical list of the Maths lesson starters for this month. Altogether there are 366 different Starters of The Day. They are activities designed for pupils to work on at the beginning of their mathematics Lesson. The format lends itself to be projected from a data projector and used on an interactive whiteboard.

9:50 Puzzle
A little lateral thinking might help you solve this puzzle.

Air Traffic Control
Work out which aircraft are in danger of colliding from their positions and direction of travel. An exercise in understanding bearings.

Angle Estimates
Estimate the sizes of each of the angles then add your estimates together.

Broken Calculator (4 and 5)
Which numbers can be made with the buttons which have not yet dropped off this calculator?

Coloured Sheep
What is the probability of picking a red sheep from the sheep in the field?

Cracked Clock
How did the clock break if the numbers on each of the pieces added up to the same total?

Arrange the digits from 1 to 9 in alphabetical order. How many times can this number be halved?

If each number in a sequence must be a factor or multiple of the previous number what is the longest sequence that can be made from the given numbers?

Fraction Order
Arrange the fractions and decimals in order from smallest to largest.

Graph Picture
Plot the given coordinates then join them up to form a picture.

Half Hearted
Find the number which when added to the top (numerator) and bottom (denominator) of each fraction make it equivalent to one half.

On a full page in the back of your exercise book draw a perfectly regular hexagon.

How Many Triangles? 3
Find a systematic way of counting the number of triangles in the given diagram.

Kim's Game 3
This is the Maths version of the traditional memory game. Memorise 10 mathematical facts then recall them as they disappear from view.

Less Than
This mathematics lesson starter invites pupils to interpret a three part algebraic inequality.

Magic Square
Arrange the numbers 1 to 9 in a 3 by 3 grid to form a magic square.

Match Fish
A classic matchstick puzzle designed to challenge your spacial awareness.

Mathster Mind
Guess the four digit number with help from the clues.

May Day
Add together the dates of all the Thursdays in May this year. Which day sum is largest?

Missing Lengths
Introduce linear equations by solving these problems about lengths.

Ms Tayke
How many times can you take one number from another?

One Fifth
Investigate three fractions which add together to give one fifth.

Can you solve this paradox by agreeing whether the statements are right or wrong?

Sea Shells
A question which can be best answered by using algebra.

Simple Nim
The classic game of Nim played with a group of pens and pencils. The game can be extended to the multi-pile version.

Star Wars Day
Estimate the size of an alien given the size of their hand. This could be an introduction to scale factors.

Sum Story
Make up real life stories for the given calculations.

Table Legs
Learn an unusual times table from the strategic finger moving up and down the 'Table Leg'!

Thai Baht
How many different ways can you make a given total with Thai coins?

Ticker News
A Think Of A Number problem presented as a news ticker.

Writing Cheques
Complete some imaginary cheques, the amount needs to be written in words.

Ultimate Customisable Starter

Refreshing Revision

It is called Refreshing Revision because every time you refresh the page you get different revision questions. You can use it over and over again.

You can customise this starter so that it only includes the topics relevant to your class.

A Maths lesson starter should sometimes be related to the work the pupils are currently studying and sometimes a revision of things they learned a long time ago. Sometimes a starter can be a puzzle, riddle or activity totally unrelated to the theme of the main part of the lesson. Our Starters of the Day give you a ready made resource to use throughout the year saving you hours of preparation time.

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A self marking exercise on using ratio notation, reducing a ratio to its simplest form and dividing a given quantity into a number of parts in proportion to a given ratio. So far this activity has been accessed 59616 times and 22932 Transum Trophies have been awarded for completing it.

Index of all Starters Starters listed by topic National Curriculum links

Though starters can be chosen to match a particular topic there is also a lot to be said for choosing whichever starter has been set for today. Doing an activity that is not typical of the normal Mathematics lesson routine or which is a little outside of the teacher's comfort zone may produce unexpectedly positive results. Why not take a risk once in a while?

Featured Activity

Triangle Solver

Triangle Solver

This simple calculator will work out the lengths of the sides and the size of the angles of any triangle given thee particular pieces of information.

Each starter has a related pupil activity. Scroll down the starter page to find the URL of this activity.

Please contact Transum if you have any ideas or suggestions by email:

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Alternatively you may want to add a comment to the list below:

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A starter will give your lesson a focused beginning and give you time to attend to the other little tasks you have to do such as calling the register and preparing for the rest of the lesson.

Some starters may only take three or four minutes while others could be developed and provide a worthwhile theme for the whole lesson.

Quick Starters Substantial Starters Random Starters Advanced Starters


Make a point of giving great significance to the lesson starter. The pupils will then also take the starter seriously and apply themselves fully to working on it.

Take time to present the starter professionally. Hide the tool bar and status bar of your web browser so as not to clutter the screen. Use the browser's zoom facility so that the relevant area of the web page fills your whiteboard or screen. Dim the lights if necessary and helpful.

Tips and Tricks Maths Topics
Alphabetical List Of Next Month's Starters

Have today's starter of the day as your default homepage. Copy the URL below then select
Tools > Internet Options (Internet Explorer) then paste the URL into the homepage field.


Comment recorded on the 24 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Ruth Seward, Hagley Park Sports College:

"Find the starters wonderful; students enjoy them and often want to use the idea generated by the starter in other parts of the lesson. Keep up the good work"

Comment recorded on the 28 May 'Starter of the Day' page by L Smith, Colwyn Bay:

"An absolutely brilliant resource. Only recently been discovered but is used daily with all my classes. It is particularly useful when things can be saved for further use. Thank you!"

Comment recorded on the 10 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mike Sendrove, Salt Grammar School, UK.:

"A really useful set of resources - thanks. Is the collection available on CD? Are solutions available?"

Comment recorded on the 25 June 'Starter of the Day' page by Inger.kisby@herts and, :

"We all love your starters. It is so good to have such a collection. We use them for all age groups and abilities. Have particularly enjoyed KIM's game, as we have not used that for Mathematics before. Keep up the good work and thank you very much
Best wishes from Inger Kisby"

Comment recorded on the 12 July 'Starter of the Day' page by Miss J Key, Farlingaye High School, Suffolk:

"Thanks very much for this one. We developed it into a whole lesson and I borrowed some hats from the drama department to add to the fun!"

Comment recorded on the 10 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Carol, Sheffield PArk Academy:

"3 NQTs in the department, I'm new subject leader in this new academy - Starters R Great!! Lovely resource for stimulating learning and getting eveyone off to a good start. Thank you!!"

Comment recorded on the 14 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Trish Bailey, Kingstone School:

"This is a great memory aid which could be used for formulae or key facts etc - in any subject area. The PICTURE is such an aid to remembering where each number or group of numbers is - my pupils love it!

Comment recorded on the 28 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Malcolm P, Dorset:

"A set of real life savers!!
Keep it up and thank you!"

Comment recorded on the 18 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs. Peacock, Downe House School and Kennet School:

"My year 8's absolutely loved the "Separated Twins" starter. I set it as an optional piece of work for my year 11's over a weekend and one girl came up with 3 independant solutions."

Comment recorded on the 3 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Fiona Bray, Cams Hill School:

"This is an excellent website. We all often use the starters as the pupils come in the door and get settled as we take the register."

Comment recorded on the 9 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Jones, Wales:

"I think that having a starter of the day helps improve maths in general. My pupils say they love them!!!"

Comment recorded on the 14 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Inger Kisby, Herts and Essex High School:

"Just a quick note to say that we use a lot of your starters. It is lovely to have so many different ideas to start a lesson with. Thank you very much and keep up the good work."

Comment recorded on the 23 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Judy, Chatsmore CHS:

"This triangle starter is excellent. I have used it with all of my ks3 and ks4 classes and they are all totally focused when counting the triangles."

Comment recorded on the 26 March 'Starter of the Day' page by Julie Reakes, The English College, Dubai:

"It's great to have a starter that's timed and focuses the attention of everyone fully. I told them in advance I would do 10 then record their percentages."

Comment recorded on the 3 October 'Starter of the Day' page by S Mirza, Park High School, Colne:

"Very good starters, help pupils settle very well in maths classroom."

Comment recorded on the 19 October 'Starter of the Day' page by E Pollard, Huddersfield:

"I used this with my bottom set in year 9. To engage them I used their name and favorite football team (or pop group) instead of the school name. For homework, I asked each student to find a definition for the key words they had been given (once they had fun trying to guess the answer) and they presented their findings to the rest of the class the following day. They felt really special because the key words came from their own personal information."

Comment recorded on the 3 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs Johnstone, 7Je:

"I think this is a brilliant website as all the students enjoy doing the puzzles and it is a brilliant way to start a lesson."

Comment recorded on the 2 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Angela Lowry, :

"I think these are great! So useful and handy, the children love them.
Could we have some on angles too please?"

Comment recorded on the 11 January 'Starter of the Day' page by S Johnson, The King John School:

"We recently had an afternoon on accelerated learning.This linked really well and prompted a discussion about learning styles and short term memory."

Comment recorded on the 17 November 'Starter of the Day' page by Amy Thay, Coventry:

"Thank you so much for your wonderful site. I have so much material to use in class and inspire me to try something a little different more often. I am going to show my maths department your website and encourage them to use it too. How lovely that you have compiled such a great resource to help teachers and pupils.
Thanks again"

Comment recorded on the 2 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs Wilshaw, Dunsten Collage,Essex:

"This website was brilliant. My class and I really enjoy doing the activites."

Comment recorded on the 5 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Stoner, St George's College of Technology:

"This resource has made a great deal of difference to the standard of starters for all of our lessons. Thank you for being so creative and imaginative."

Comment recorded on the 6 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Natalie, London:

"I am thankful for providing such wonderful starters. They are of immence help and the students enjoy them very much. These starters have saved my time and have made my lessons enjoyable."

Comment recorded on the 19 June 'Starter of the Day' page by Nikki Jordan, Braunton School, Devon:

"Excellent. Thank you very much for a fabulous set of starters. I use the 'weekenders' if the daily ones are not quite what I want. Brilliant and much appreciated."

Comment recorded on the 1 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Phil Anthony, Head of Maths, Stourport High School:

"What a brilliant website. We have just started to use the 'starter-of-the-day' in our yr9 lessons to try them out before we change from a high school to a secondary school in September. This is one of the best resources on-line we have found. The kids and staff love it. Well done an thank you very much for making my maths lessons more interesting and fun."

Comment recorded on the 7 December 'Starter of the Day' page by Cathryn Aldridge, Pells Primary:

"I use Starter of the Day as a registration and warm-up activity for my Year 6 class. The range of questioning provided is excellent as are some of the images.
I rate this site as a 5!"

Comment recorded on the 17 June 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Hall, Light Hall School, Solihull:

"Dear Transum,

I love you website I use it every maths lesson I have with every year group! I don't know were I would turn to with out you!"

Comment recorded on the 16 March 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs A Milton, Ysgol Ardudwy:

"I have used your starters for 3 years now and would not have a lesson without one! Fantastic way to engage the pupils at the start of a lesson."

Comment recorded on the 21 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Trainor And His P7 Class(All Girls), Mercy Primary School, Belfast:

"My Primary 7 class in Mercy Primary school, Belfast, look forward to your mental maths starters every morning. The variety of material is interesting and exciting and always engages the teacher and pupils. Keep them coming please."

Comment recorded on the 19 November 'Starter of the Day' page by Lesley Sewell, Ysgol Aberconwy, Wales:

"A Maths colleague introduced me to your web site and I love to use it. The questions are so varied I can use them with all of my classes, I even let year 13 have a go at some of them. I like being able to access Starters for the whole month so I can use favourites with classes I see at different times of the week. Thanks."

Comment recorded on the 1 February 'Starter of the Day' page by Terry Shaw, Beaulieu Convent School:

"Really good site. Lots of good ideas for starters. Use it most of the time in KS3."

Comment recorded on the 8 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Smith, West Sussex, UK:

"I am an NQT and have only just discovered this website. I nearly wet my pants with joy.
To the creator of this website and all of those teachers who have contributed to it, I would like to say a big THANK YOU!!! :)."

Comment recorded on the 1 February 'Starter of the Day' page by M Chant, Chase Lane School Harwich:

"My year five children look forward to their daily challenge and enjoy the problems as much as I do. A great resource - thanks a million."

Comment recorded on the 9 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Jan, South Canterbury:

"Thank you for sharing such a great resource. I was about to try and get together a bank of starters but time is always required elsewhere, so thank you."

Comment recorded on the 1 August 'Starter of the Day' page by Peter Wright, St Joseph's College:

"Love using the Starter of the Day activities to get the students into Maths mode at the beginning of a lesson. Lots of interesting discussions and questions have arisen out of the activities.
Thanks for such a great resource!"

Comment recorded on the 9 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Liz, Kuwait:

"I would like to thank you for the excellent resources which I used every day. My students would often turn up early to tackle the starter of the day as there were stamps for the first 5 finishers. We also had a lot of fun with the fun maths. All in all your resources provoked discussion and the students had a lot of fun."

Comment recorded on the s /Coordinate 'Starter of the Day' page by Greg, Wales:

"Excellent resource, I use it all of the time! The only problem is that there is too much good stuff here!!"

Comment recorded on the i asp?ID_Top 'Starter of the Day' page by Ros, Belize:

"A really awesome website! Teachers and students are learning in such a fun way! Keep it up..."

Comment recorded on the s /Indice 'Starter of the Day' page by Busolla, Australia:

"Thank you very much for providing these resources for free for teachers and students. It has been engaging for the students - all trying to reach their highest level and competing with their peers while also learning. Thank you very much!"

Phil A, Stourport High School, Worcs

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Brilliant, my students really love coming to maths. You are angels. Keep up the good work.", Kensington and Chelsea College

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Very nice website. A really useful set of maths resources here. Thank-you from"

I MacAndie, Elgin Academy

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Excellent site overall, I've used a variety of the starters very effectively across all secondary age ranges."

Aoife, Ireland

Friday, September 2, 2016

"Love the starters! Are there solutions?

[Transum: Yes Aoife there are answers to all the starters. They can be found on the Starter page when you scroll down. By default they are hidden but if you are logged in as a subscriber they are visible.]"

Cover Supervisor At Stanwell School, Penarth

Friday, September 9, 2016

Holbrook Primary School, Suffolk, Twitter

Friday, March 18, 2022

Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for those learning Mathematics anywhere in the world. Click here to enter your comments.

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