Sum Square



























Arrange the numbers one to eight on the yellow tiles to make the four totals correct.

Topics: Starter | Arithmetic | Problem Solving | Puzzles

  • Mrs McColm, Leswalt Primary School
  • This starter taught the children that things don't always happen on the first try - so you will have to try again and have patience.
  • The Best Maths Class Ever. 7cd/m2, Kind Alfred's College, Oxfordshire
  • It was really hard and appeared to rely on luck. Once we revealed the top and middle row, one or two of us got it.
  • Callum Mackinnon, Bargeddie Primary School, Primary 7
  • This I must say, is the best Maths Starter from Transum this term. I for one specifically do not believe I am good at Mathematics but this has really boosted my confidence.
  • Janet, Oaklands
  • Caretaker, Careers Adviser and a Maths teacher couldn't just leave this one until they had solved it! That was just a familiarisation session.....
  • Jean, Polesworth
  • We've been trying to do one since monday! The whole school is trying and we are yet to triumph! we have to equal 15 across the top, 12 down the left-hand side, 0 across the bottom and -2 down the right hand side! Even our top math pupils are yet to do it!!!
  • Mr M's Year 8s, Canggu Community School, Bali
  • We all sucked at this apart from Frances who was on fire! Max said he liked it and we almost had to kill Oceane because she got it wrong! Thanks for a great starter.
  • J Leckey, ICD, Dungannon, NI.
  • Leila and Aaron completed this in 5 mins! They are both first year students.
  • Ms Henderson, Harrow International School Beijing
  • We tried 3 times, working as a class and we solved it!!! Ms Henderson's Y3 class rocks!!
  • Karen, DNPS
  • We tried the task and Grade 4R found it challenging and interesting. We had two answers that were different to the answer supplied
    + +
    6 3
    + -
    = =
    16 0
    + +
    1 4
    + -
    = =
    16 0.
  • Mrs W, St Joseph's Catholic College, Bradford
  • We found the answer in one lesson!
  • 8A3, All Hallows, Penwortham
  • Too easy, it only took us 30 seconds. How cool are we.
  • Mrs Woods S1 Class, Waid Academy, Fife, Scotland
  • My class got this in 15 seconds!!! Well done you clever people.
  • Mr Rawling, Springwood High School
  • Matthew did it in 2 minutes. Isn't he a clever boy!
  • Y6 Maths Maniacs, Nottingham
  • It was tricky but we solved it in the end.
  • Mrs Pimmple,
  • We took about 10 of tries but on the 11th e got it in 15 seconds! Go 6P!
  • Nathaniel, Scoraig School
  • I completed this in ten minutes!
  • Nick, Waipahu Intermediate
  • Is there any other way of doing this apart from trial and error?

    [Transum: Hello Nick. It really depends on the given totals that are generated when the page loads. Some totals make the puzzle easier than others. Can I suggest that a more manageable puzzle is Latin Square and you can choose the level most suitable for your class.]
  • Transum,
  • Following on from Nick's comment above I have adjusted this Starter so that the puzzle you first see is one that minimises the amount of 'trial and error' required to solve it. This makes it easier than a randomly generated puzzle. However I have included a button to generate a random puzzle for those who enjoy a challenge. Good Luck!

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
Click here to enter your comments.

Previous Day | This starter is for 27 April | Next Day



Sign in to your Transum subscription account to see the answers

Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.

Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more...

How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

What more could the inquisitive adult want for Christmas? This book makes a cosy, interesting read in front of the fire on those cold winter evenings. more...

Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

For the young people in your life it is a great investment. Bought as a Christmas present but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more...

Apple iPad Pro

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent gift for anyone.

The redesigned Retina display is as stunning to look at as it is to touch. It all comes with iOS, the world's most advanced mobile operating system. iPad Pro. Everything you want modern computing to be. more...

Before giving an iPad as a Christmas gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

Aristotle's Number Puzzle

It’s a bit of a tradition to give puzzles as Christmas Gifts to nieces and nephews. This puzzle is ideal for the keen puzzle solver who would like a challenge that will continue over the festive period (at least!).

This number puzzle involves nineteen numbers arranged into a hexagon. The goal of the puzzle is to rearrange the numbers so each of the fifteen rows add up to 38. It comes in a wooden style with an antique, aged look.

Keep the Maths in Christmaths with this reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

The Story Of Maths [DVD]

The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

Marcus du Sautoy's wonderful programmes make a perfect Christmas gift more...

Christmas Maths

This book provides a wealth of fun activities with a Christmas theme. Each photocopiable worksheet is matched to the Numeracy Strategy and compatible with the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines. This series is designed for busy teachers in the late Autumn term who are desperate for materials that are relevant and interesting and that can be completed with minimun supervision.

All the activities are suitable for use by class teachers, supply teachers, SEN teachers and classroom assistants and cover topics such as 'How many partridges did the true love give all together?' and 'Filling a sleigh with presents by rolling a dice!'. Children will have lots of fun working through the Christmas Maths themes but also gain valuable skills along the way.

A great source of ideas and another reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

A Compendium Of 	Mathematical Methods

A Compendium Of Mathematical Methods

How many different methods do you know to solve simultaneous equations? To multiply decimals? To find the nth term of a sequence?

A Compendium of Mathematical Methods brings together over one hundred different approaches from classrooms all over the world, giving curious mathematicians the opportunity to explore fascinating methods that they've never before encountered.

If you teach mathematics to any age group in any country, you are guaranteed to learn lots of new things from this delightful book. It will deepen your subject knowledge and enhance your teaching, whatever your existing level of expertise. It will inspire you to explore new approaches with your pupils and provide valuable guidance on explanations and misconceptions. more...

Math with Bad Drawings

I had been tutoring the wonderful Betsy for five years. When the day came for our last ever session together before the end of her Year 13, I received this beautiful book as a gift of appreciation.

This a very readable book by Ben Orlin. I'm really enjoying the humour in the writing and the drawings are great.

Ben Orlin answers maths' three big questions: Why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard? The answers come in various forms-cartoons, drawings, jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that mathematics should belong to everyone. more...

Click the images above to see all the details of these gift ideas and to buy them online.

Maths T-Shirts

Maths T-shirts on Amazon
Maths T-Shirts on Amazon

Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon link. As an Amazon Associate I earn a small amount from qualifying purchases which helps pay for the upkeep of this website.

Educational Technology on Amazon


Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops?  This page was really designed for projection on a whiteboard but if you really want the students to have access to it here is a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments:

However it would be better to assign one of the student interactive activities below.

Laptops In Lessons

Here is the URL which will take them to a similar activity.

Go Figure Student Activity



©1997-2022 WWW.TRANSUM.ORG