January 2017 Able Maths Day

Monday 30th Jan, 2017

4B3D450F-14FE-4B65-88A9-6461682ADB99 2Today our two Y5 Maths Champions, Olly and Tia represented St Mary’s at an Able Maths Day organised by St Mary’s School in Crowborough. The day was run by a leading maths consultant Peter Hall and was designed to be stimulating, challenging and enjoyable by putting children’s maths skills to the test in some unusual and testing puzzles.

Tia and Olly were brilliant ambassadors for St Mary’s and impressed Mr Hall, IMG_1257particularly with the shape building challenges by creating the swan (almost impossible) and being the first to make a perfect rectangle.

Down below Olly and Tia have shared some of the maths puzzles they enjoyed on the day. Why not have a go and see how many you can solve?

Can you solve the puzzle below? What is the number of the parking spot where the car is parked?


How did you get on? Did you know this puzzle is part of an entry exam for nursery school children in Hong Kong?

We guessed number 87. Did you?

If you did you are right! Do you know why?

The numbers are upside down, and the number between 88 and 89 is 87!

We thought this was quite a tricky puzzle because you had to realise the numbers were upside down, and to make it even more difficult they were all numbers that made sense upside down and the right way up. This puzzle did not require maths skills, only logic. Logic is a part of your maths brain, but maybe not a part you expected to be using to solve this puzzle.

Tricky? Easy? Ready for another one??

FullSizeRender 2Billy’s mum had 4 children. The first was called April, the second May, the third June. Guess what her fourth child was called?




Don’t know?

Scroll down for the answer….

The answer is Billy!!

Keep going for another puzzle…

Can you explain the logic of this?






Here’s the answer…

The first digit of the ‘answer’ is what you get if the operation (+ sign) was a -, the second digit of the answer is the correct answer. Of course the ‘answer’ does not make logical sense because of place values, but could you work out the pattern?

Ok, ready for one last puzzle?

There was a famous German mathematician called Carl Gauss. Legend says that Carl’s maths teacher was quite lazy and one afternoon he wanted to keep the children in his class busy while he had a snooze. He asked the children to add together all the whole numbers from 1 to 100. In other words 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9 and so on. He settled down for a nap and left the children to get on with their work. His eyes had only been shut for a minute when Carl approached his teacher with the solution.

How long would it take you to work out the answer? Can you time yourself?

Scroll down for the correct answer….


The correct answer is 5500. Do you want to know how he worked the answer out so quickly?

Carl realised that if he split the numbers into two groups (1 to 50 and 51 to 100), he could add them together vertically to get a sum of 101, and as he would have 50 groups of those number he would simply multiply 101 by 50 = 5500!

We hope you enjoyed having a go at these maths puzzles with us. Thanks for joining in the fun.