Noel and Merrie received some Christmas presents.

The number of presents Noel received was a power of 3.

The number of presents Merrie received was a power of 2.

The number of Christmas presents they received were consecutive numbers. How many presents did they receive?

Topics: Starter | Indices | Number | Xmas

You can find many more ChristMaths activities at:


  • Transum,
  • Many pupils might find this problem very easy and immediately come up with one solution. The real challenge is to find all of the possible solutions. It won't be giving away too much to tell them that there are actually four different solutions in which each child receives less than ten presents. How many solutions do you think there are?
  • Alan Ramm, Twitter
  • Nice starter of the day which can lead into Catalan's conjecture.
  • Leslie Jackson, Saint Bede's Redhill
  • This is confusing as the answers are not square or cube numbers...I think this could be improved by saying something like they each receive the same number of presents and the answers are less than 800 many can you find??
    answers: each get 1 or 64 or 729.....
  • Anne, Melbourne
  • Where do I find the answers?

    [Transum: The answers to each of the Starters and online exercises can be found lower down the page when signed in as a teacher, parent or tutor.]
  • Simon, New Zealand
  • This is a rather confusing question. The wording is vague.

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.
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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 our Indices Pairs game.

Student Activity


Many more ChrisMaths activities available.


Chrismassy background music is Christmas Village from YouTube Studio


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