Mr Barton Maths Podcast

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maths problem solving ks3 tes

TES Maths Investigations Collection

Engaging investigation ideas to inspire creative thinking in your classroom

Since the abolition of maths coursework, there is no formal requirement to carry out investigations with your students. However, it is only through investigative work that students of all ages and abilities can start to appreciate the true beauty of the subject. They can hypothesise, be creative, challenge themselves, work with other students and potentially discover things that have never been discovered before.

At our school, we do an investigation with each year group every half term. They may last 20 minutes or five lessons. Here is a selection of the best investigations that the TES Maths community has to offer.

I really hope you and your students find them useful, enjoyable and stimulating.

Craig Barton, TES Maths adviser

  • Creativity in maths This useful guide is worth reading before embarking upon any maths investigation. What does it mean to be creative and how can you provide opportunities for creativity in your classroom? It comes complete with five puzzles in a ready-to-print format.
  • Maths investigations A collection of over 20 maths problems, puzzles, games and investigations that are designed for KS2, but which could easily be used to extend the learning and problem solving skills of younger KS3 students.
  • More maths investigations This resource contains lots of ideas for real-life maths investigations, covering number, algebra, shape, space and measure. Again, while they are aimed at KS2 pupils, they could be adapted for use with KS3 students as well.
  • Even more maths investigations! These starter sheets introduce a topic for investigation and come with levelled guidance to help students to self- and peer-assess as they progress through it. Although they are targeted at Year 7, these are suitable for year groups at both KS2 and KS3.
  • Investigative lesson presentations A collection of classic maths investigations, including chessboards and tetrahedron towers, presented as PowerPoint presentations with learning objectives and level expectations.
  • Challenging ideas for KS4 and Post-16 This was one of my TES Maths Resources of 2014 and it’s easy to see why. These investigations are ideal for gifted and talented GCSE and sixth form students and include everything from code-breaking and Goldbach’s conjecture to the Riemann hypothesis and game theory.
  • Diagonals of rectangles This may be one of my own resources, but it is one of my all-time favourites as it’s so versatile. It can be accessed by Year 6 students, while still challenging the most able Year 11s. The concept is so simple, but the potential depth is great.
  • Investigating circle theorems Some of the best investigations are topic-specific and this activity is no exception. It uses the free dynamic geometry package, GeoGebra, to help students derive, identify and better understand all of the key circle theorems.
  • Prison cells investigation The famous investigation about the numbers on prison cell doors is well-presented, has a really clear structure and some fantastic ideas for differentiation.
  • Pentominoes Pentominoes are a superb, versatile teaching resource that can be used for investigating many aspects of shape. This resource takes you through lots of ideas for making the most of them.
  • Mathemagic These maths magic tricks are engaging way of presenting a problem to your KS3 pupils, before challenging them to investigate how and why they work. Better still, can they go on to design their own?
  • Noughts and crosses investigation Who would have thought you could get so much maths goodness from a game of noughts and crosses?  This game will appeal to secondary students of all ages.

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The resources on this page will hopefully help you teach AO2 and AO3 of the new GCSE specification - problem solving and reasoning.

This brief lesson is designed to lead students into thinking about how to solve mathematical problems. It features ideas of strategies to use, clear steps to follow and plenty of opportunities for discussion.

maths problem solving ks3 tes

The PixiMaths problem solving booklets are aimed at "crossover" marks (questions that will be on both higher and foundation) so will be accessed by most students. The booklets are collated Edexcel exam questions; you may well recognise them from elsewhere. Each booklet has 70 marks worth of questions and will probably last two lessons, including time to go through answers with your students. There is one for each area of the new GCSE specification and they are designed to complement the PixiMaths year 11 SOL.

These problem solving starter packs are great to support students with problem solving skills. I've used them this year for two out of four lessons each week, then used Numeracy Ninjas as starters for the other two lessons.  When I first introduced the booklets, I encouraged my students to use scaffolds like those mentioned here , then gradually weaned them off the scaffolds. I give students some time to work independently, then time to discuss with their peers, then we go through it as a class. The levels correspond very roughly to the new GCSE grades.

Some of my favourite websites have plenty of other excellent resources to support you and your students in these assessment objectives.

@TessMaths has written some great stuff for BBC Bitesize.

There are some intersting though-provoking problems at Open Middle.

I'm sure you've seen it before, but if not, check it out now! Nrich is where it's at if your want to provide enrichment and problem solving in your lessons.

MathsBot  by @StudyMaths has everything, and if you scroll to the bottom of the homepage you'll find puzzles and problem solving too.

I may be a little biased because I love Edexcel, but these question packs are really useful.

The UKMT has a mentoring scheme that provides fantastic problem solving resources , all complete with answers.

I have only recently been shown Maths Problem Solving and it is awesome - there are links to problem solving resources for all areas of maths, as well as plenty of general problem solving too. Definitely worth exploring!


Ratio: Problem Solving Textbook Exercise

Click here for questions, gcse revision cards.

maths problem solving ks3 tes

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maths problem solving ks3 tes

  • Free Teaching Resources For The Entire Ks3 Maths Curriculum

Free maths worksheets and resources for every part of the KS3 curriculum

maths problem solving ks3 tes

An entire breakdown of the National curriculum in England: mathematics programmes of study for Year 7-9 with worksheets, activities, ideas, PowerPoints and more for every element…


Maths homework worksheets

maths problem solving ks3 tes

Help students practise their maths skills with these free maths homework question packs for Year 7 , Year 8 , Year 9 and GCSE maths .

maths problem solving ks3 tes

You can also download 100+ problem-solving questions in our KS3 maths worksheets pack from White Rose Maths.

maths problem solving ks3 tes

Pupils should be taught to:

Understand and use place value for decimals, measures and integers of any size

  • Place value problem cards for decimals

Order positive and negative integers, decimals and fractions; use the number line as a model for ordering of the real numbers; use the symbols =, ≠, <, >, ≤, ≥

  • Negative numbers worksheet – KS3 maths resource with answers
  • Problem solving with negative numbers worksheets

Use the four operations, including formal written methods, applied to integers, decimals, proper and improper fractions, and mixed numbers, all both positive and negative

  • Adding fractions with the same denominator
  • Adding and subtracting fractions
  • Multiplying and dividing fractions codebreakers
  • Multiplying and dividing fractions PowerPoint

Use conventional notation for the priority of operations, including brackets, powers, roots and reciprocals

  • BODMAS questions for KS3 maths – Order of operations worksheet with answers
  • BIDMAS first steps worksheets
  • Order of operations (BIDMAS)

Recognise and use relationships between operations including inverse operations

Use integer powers and associated real roots (square, cube and higher), recognise powers of 2, 3, 4, 5 and distinguish between exact representations of roots and their decimal approximations

  • Finding powers and roots lesson

Interpret and compare numbers in standard form A x 10n 1≤A<10, where n is a positive or negative integer or zero

  • Standard form activities
  • Codebreaker – Standard form

Work interchangeably with terminating decimals and their corresponding fractions (such as 3.5 and 7/2 or 0.375 and 3/8)

  • Ordering fractions and decimals

Define percentage as ‘number of parts per hundred’, interpret percentages and one quantity as a percentage of another, compare two quantities using percentages, and work with percentages greater than 100%

  • Percentage questions – KS3 maths worksheet with answers
  • Non-calculator method percentages lesson and worksheets

Interpret fractions and percentages as operators

  • Fractions, decimals and percents worksheets – KS3 maths resource with answers
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages

Use standard units of mass, length, time, money and other measures, including with decimal quantities

  • Advert maths – Units of measurement worksheet

Round numbers and measures to an appropriate degree of accuracy [for example, to a number of decimal places or significant figures]

  • Rounding and approximation

Use approximation through rounding to estimate answers and calculate possible resulting errors expressed using inequality notation a<x≤b

  • Rounding, estimation, standard form grades F to A

Use a calculator and other technologies to calculate results accurately and then interpret them appropriately

  • Calculator skills revision lesson
  • Virtual Casio calculator button explanations for IWB

Use and interpret algebraic notation, including: ab in place of a × b; 3y in place of y + y + y and 3 × y; a2 in place of a × a; a3 in place of a × a × a; a2b in place of a × a × b; a/b in place of a ÷ b; coefficients written as fractions rather than as decimals; brackets

  • Writing formulae

Substitute numerical values into formulae and expressions, including scientific formulae

  • Simplifying expressions and formulae PowerPoint

Understand and use the concepts and vocabulary of expressions, equations, inequalities, terms and factors

  • Algebraic expressions

Simplify and manipulate algebraic expressions to maintain equivalence by: collecting like terms; multiplying a single term over a bracket; taking out common factors; expanding products of two or more binomials

  • Simplifying expressions codebreaker
  • Algebraic expressions spiders

Understand and use standard mathematical formulae; rearrange formulae to change the subject

  • Algebraic fractions and simplifying
  • Simplify algebraic fractions worksheet and answers

Model situations or procedures by translating them into algebraic expressions or formulae and by using graphs

  • Simultaneous equations and graphs lesson

Use algebraic methods to solve linear equations in one variable (including all forms that require rearrangement)

  • Solving equations matching activities
  • Solving linear equations worksheets from Level 4-7

Work with coordinates in all four quadrants

  • Plotting and identifying coordinates in all four quadrants worksheet

Recognise, sketch and produce graphs of linear and quadratic functions of one variable with appropriate scaling, using equations in x and y and the Cartesian plane

  • Sketching quadratic graphs worksheet

Interpret mathematical relationships both algebraically and graphically

  • Solving simultaneous equations graphically worksheet

Reduce a given linear equation in two variables to the standard form y = mx + c; calculate and interpret gradients and intercepts of graphs of such linear equations numerically, graphically and algebraically

  • Introduction lesson to straight line graphs, linear functions and y=mx+c

Use linear and quadratic graphs to estimate values of y for given values of x and vice versa and to find approximate solutions of simultaneous linear equations

  • Simultaneous equations graphically PowerPoint and worksheet

Find approximate solutions to contextual problems from given graphs of a variety of functions, including piece-wise linear, exponential and reciprocal graphs

  • ‘Defuse the Bomb’ linear and non-linear graphs worksheets

Generate terms of a sequence from either a term-to-term or a position-to-term rule

  • Graph sequences – grades F to C
  • Introduction to sequences

Recognise arithmetic sequences and find the nth term

  • Nth term questions – KS3/4 linear sequences worksheet with answers
  • Graph sequences – Grades F to C
  • Arithmetic sequences worksheets

Recognise geometric sequences and appreciate other sequences that arise

  • Advanced sequences – Linear, geometric, quadratic and sequence proofs

Ratio, proportion and rates of change

maths problem solving ks3 tes

Change freely between related standard units [for example time, length, area, volume/capacity, mass]

  • Ratio and proportion

Use scale factors, scale diagrams and maps

  • Enlargement with negative scale factors
  • Similar shapes volume worksheet using scale factors

Express one quantity as a fraction of another, where the fraction is less than 1 and greater than 1

  • Fractions of amounts worksheet

Use ratio notation, including reduction to simplest form

  • Simplifying ratios worksheet

Divide a given quantity into two parts in a given part:part or part:whole ratio; express the division of a quantity into two parts as a ratio

  • Ratio worksheet
  • Simplifying ratios treasure hunt

Understand that a multiplicative relationship between two quantities can be expressed as a ratio or a fraction

  • Three multiplicative relationships lessons on ratio problems

Relate the language of ratios and the associated calculations to the arithmetic of fractions and to linear functions

  • Fraction, ratio and percentage reasoning tasks

Solve problems involving percentage change, including: percentage increase, decrease and original value problems and simple interest in financial mathematics

  • Percentage changes in football wages worksheet
  • Homes Under the Hammer percentage change worksheet
  • Storage Hunters percentage change (profit/loss) worksheet

Solve problems involving direct and inverse proportion, including graphical and algebraic representations

Use compound units such as speed, unit pricing and density to solve problems

  • Compound measures

Geometry and measures

Derive and apply formulae to calculate and solve problems involving: perimeter and area of triangles, parallelograms, trapezia, volume of cuboids (including cubes) and other prisms (including cylinders)

  • Area and perimeter codebreakers Worksheets
  • Area and perimeter

Calculate and solve problems involving: perimeters of 2-D shapes (including circles), areas of circles and composite shapes

  • Area of a circle worksheets and PowerPoint with detailed solutions

Draw and measure line segments and angles in geometric figures, including interpreting scale drawings

  • Simple construction worksheet for drawing and measuring line segments

Derive and use the standard ruler and compass constructions (perpendicular bisector of a line segment, constructing a perpendicular to a given line from/at a given point, bisecting a given angle); recognise and use the perpendicular distance from a point to a line as the shortest distance to the line

  • The Walking Dead Season 5 shape construction activity

Describe, sketch and draw using conventional terms and notations: points, lines, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, right angles, regular polygons, and other polygons that are reflectively and rotationally symmetric

  • Reflective and rotational symmetry activity with company logos

Use the standard conventions for labelling the sides and angles of triangle ABC, and know and use the criteria for congruence of triangles

  • Properties of triangles and quadrilaterals worksheet

Derive and illustrate properties of triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, and other plane figures [for example, equal lengths and angles] using appropriate language and technologies

  • Properties of quadrilaterals PowerPoint

Identify properties of, and describe the results of, translations, rotations and reflections applied to given figures

  • Transformations

Identify and construct congruent triangles, and construct similar shapes by enlargement, with and without coordinate grids

Apply the properties of angles at a point, angles at a point on a straight line, vertically opposite angles

  • Angles on a straight line worksheet

Understand and use the relationship between parallel lines and alternate and corresponding angles

  • Angles in parallel lines worksheet – KS3 maths resource with answers
  • Angles in parallel lines – comparing methods
  • Angles of Parallel Lines PowerPoint

Derive and use the sum of angles in a triangle and use it to deduce the angle sum in any polygon, and to derive properties of regular polygons

  • Angles in triangles treasure hunt activity

Apply angle facts, triangle congruence, similarity and properties of quadrilaterals to derive results about angles and sides, including Pythagoras’ Theorem, and use known results to obtain simple proofs

  • Pythagoras’ theorem PRET homework worksheet
  • Pythagoras’ theorem and coordinates lesson
  • Pythagoras’ theorem questions

Use Pythagoras’ Theorem and trigonometric ratios in similar triangles to solve problems involving right-angled triangles

  • Introductory trigonometry lesson PowerPoint
  • Trigonometry levelled activity
  • Trigonometry in right-angled triangles matching activities

Use the properties of faces, surfaces, edges and vertices of cubes, cuboids, prisms, cylinders, pyramids, cones and spheres to solve problems in 3-D

  • Advanced trigonometry for KS3 and GCSE maths – 3D trigonometry, Pythagoras and sine/cosine rules

Interpret mathematical relationships both algebraically and geometrically.

  • Problem solving question of the day compilation worksheets


maths problem solving ks3 tes

Record, describe and analyse the frequency of outcomes of simple probability experiments involving randomness, fairness, equally and unequally likely outcomes, using appropriate language and the 0-1 probability scale

  • Introduction to probability and probability scale lesson
  • Probability full lesson PowerPoint and worksheets

Understand that the probabilities of all possible outcomes sum to 1

  • Probability lesson

Enumerate sets and unions/intersections of sets systematically, using tables, grids and Venn diagrams

  • S1 Chapter 5 probability lesson

Generate theoretical sample spaces for single and combined events with equally likely, mutually exclusive outcomes and use these to calculate theoretical probabilities.

  • Sample spaces and calculating probabilities worksheet

Describe, interpret and compare observed distributions of a single variable through: appropriate graphical representation involving discrete, continuous and grouped data; and appropriate measures of central tendency (mean, mode, median) and spread (range, consideration of outliers)

  • Find the median and mean averages and range worksheet
  • Average and range codebreaker activities

Construct and interpret appropriate tables, charts, and diagrams, including frequency tables, bar charts, pie charts, and pictograms for categorical data, and vertical line (or bar) charts for ungrouped and grouped numerical data

  • Interpreting statistical graphs
  • Calculating, displaying and interpreting statistics tutorials

Describe simple mathematical relationships between two variables (bivariate data) in observational and experimental contexts and illustrate using scatter graphs.

  • Scatter diagrams
  • Plotting scatter graphs PowerPoint and worksheet
  • Correlation street draw and use scatter graphs activity

Browse more KS3 maths games and lesson ideas.

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Rich tasks and maths investigations for KS3

Here you'll find a collection of tried and trusted rich maths tasks and investigations to develop your KS3 students' numeracy skills and understanding. The best investigations are those that encourage curiosity and engage students’ problem-solving skills. Choose from activities that include maths problems in a real-life context, word problems and practical maths tasks to add some fun and creativity to your maths lessons on different shapes, fractions, decimals, and more.

Many of the teaching resources in this collection include lesson plans, PowerPoints or student worksheets. There are a number of resources in this collection that are suitable for learners at both key stages 3 and 4, so can also be used for GCSE practice.

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Maths problems

Maths problems

Subject: Mathematics

Age range: 11-14

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

The Maths Market

Last updated

28 November 2020

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The 24 Best Free KS3 Maths Games For Engagement At School and Home

Emma johnson.

KS3 maths games are still a really good way to engage and motivate pupils in year 7, 8 and 9. Just because they’ve moved on from the more traditionally ‘fun’ stage of their schooling to secondary school, doesn’t mean that KS3 children are any less susceptible to the attractions of fun KS3 maths games. 

At KS3, we try to encourage pupils to look for different strategies for solving problems and deepen their understanding of numbers. KS3 maths games are a great way to do this. They provide opportunities for pupils to practise, without the need for any input from the teacher. Teachers are able to watch and observe how pupils approach problems and make assessment judgements. Another great thing about these maths games is they support home-school links which are particularly valuable at a time when parents can start to feel increasingly isolated from what their child is experiencing at school. 

Parents are able to learn about their children’s mathematical thinking by playing some of these KS3 maths games with them at home. 

When played repeatedly in KS3, maths games are fantastic for supporting a child’s development and understanding of maths. 

In this blog, I will be looking at games that can be played in each of the year groups in key stage 3. Many of these games aren’t restricted to the year group they have been allocated and can be suitable for children of different ages, sometimes with small adjustments to the numbers used. In many cases, no adjustments are needed for them to appeal to all ages.

KS3 Maths Games Printables

All the printable resources you'll need to complete these games.

1. Prime numbers game

2. multiplication game: product hunt, 3. fractions, decimals and percentages game: snap, 4. multiplying / dividing fractions game, 5. algebra game: 3 in a row, 6. coordinates game: battleships, 7. algebraic equations game: find the operation, 8. factors and multiples game, 9. number game: yes / no, 10. division and remainders game: mystery number, more maths games for primary and secondary schools, 11. number game: how many steps, 12. number game: take five, 13. fractions game: countdown, 14. bidmas game: 4 in a row, 15. number game: nifty fifty, 16. subtraction game: sub-zero, 17. number game: countdown, 18. number game: target 24, 19. number game: wild jack, 20. number game: game of six, 21. number game: 5 of a kind, 22. addition game: got it, 23. 2d shapes game: square it, 24. 3d shapes game: nine colours, maths games for year 7.

The curriculum in year 7 is more diverse and varied than key stage 2. The focus moves from number and calculation and broadens to include algebra, ratio & proportion and probability. Whilst all the elements of calculation, place value and fractions are still covered within key stage 3, it is instead under the heading ‘number’. The games in this section will all help year 7 children to build upon the skills developed in year 6, and to build upon those covered in year 7.

This fun maths game gets children thinking about prime numbers and factors, to determine whether they have the cards to make a prime number each time.

What you will need to play:

  • 2 or more players
  • Pack of cards (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12 and King = 13)
  • List of prime numbers (optional): 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101, 103, 107, 109, and 113

How to play:

  • Shuffle the cards and deal 11 cards to each player, which they hold in their hand. The top card of the remainder of the pack is turned over and is the ‘starting number’.
  • The non-dealer (or person to the left of the dealer) adds a card from their hand that adds to the starting card to equal a prime number. 
  • The next player then tries to add to that total to equal a larger prime. 
  • When a player can no longer add a card that sums up to a prime the hand is over, and the last person to make a prime gets a point.

The first player to score 5 points is the winner.

This game enables children to practise the written method of multiplication in a more fun and motivational way than just working through calculations on a worksheet.

  • 0-9 digit cards
  • Paper and pen
  • Shuffle the cards and place in the middle of the table, face down.
  • Players take it in turns to take a card and place it face up on the table.
  • Continue until 5 cards have been selected.
  • Once the 5 cards have been chosen, players have 2 minutes to make as many long multiplication questions and calculate the answers as they can (e.g. if the cards 2, 9, 5, 6 and 1 were chosen, they could write down the calculation 291 x 56.
  • The winner is the player with the most correct calculations completed in the 2 minutes.

In year 7, children need to be able to recognise equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages. This game is a simple way of practising this in a more engaging and fun way than working through a worksheet.

  • A set of shuffled fraction, decimal and percentage cards (see printable resource pack)
  • Place the shuffled pile of cards face down on the table.
  • Take it in turns to turn over a card. If 2 cards are turned over with matching fractions/decimals/percentages e.g. 50% and ½, then the first player to call out ‘snap’ gets to keep all the cards put down so far.
  • The winner is the player at the end of the game with the most pairs of cards.

This game can be used for both multiplying and dividing fractions, as well as comparing the size of 2 fractions. This game really gets children thinking, as they have to think carefully where to position their digits to make the largest fraction.

  • A set of 1-9 cards
  • Blank fractions sheet with multiplying or dividing questions (see printable resource pack) 
  • Each player has a blank multiplying or dividing fractions page.
  • Take it in turns to throw the dice and each player decides which box on their sheet to put the number in.
  • Once the numbers have been generated and all 4 boxes contain a number, each player multiplies their fractions together (or they can divide the fractions if this is the focus).
  • The player who has made the greatest fraction, when the 2 are multiplied or divided, scores 2 points. 
  • If both players make the same sized fraction, each player scores 1 point.
  • The winner is the first player to reach 10 points.

In year 7, children build on the algebra skills learnt in year 6 and start applying the skills that will take them through to GCSE. This game is a great way to practise algebraic equations and more fun than simply answering questions from a textbook.

  • Algebra game board (see printable resource pack)
  • Algebra equations list (see printable resource pack)
  • 20 counters (2 colours)
  • The first player throws both dice.
  • With the 2 numbers generated, they decide which number will represent ‘a’ and which number will represent ‘b’.
  • They then choose one of the 6 equations, using the 2 numbers generated to represent a and b. 
  • They work out the answer and cover the number with a counter.
  • The next player does the same.
  • Players take it in turns until one player has positioned 3 counters in a row. They are the winner.

In this game, players must identify all the coordinates of their opponent’s battleships. It can be played using a 2 or a 4 quadrant grid and is great for practising the reading and plotting of coordinates.

  • A blank coordinates grid, A – I on the x-axis and 1 – 9 on the y-axis, for each player (see printable resource pack)
  • A pen for each player
  • Each player has a blank coordinates grid.
  • They plot their ‘battleships’ (make sure the size and number of battleships are agreed in advance) on the grid and make a note of the coordinates.
  • Player 1 goes first and calls out their first coordinate. If it hits one of the coordinates on player 2’s grid, player 2 calls out ‘hit’ and player 1 marks it off. If it misses player 2’s battleships, they call out ‘miss’ and player 1 marks it as a miss.
  • Players then swap over, so player 2 calls out their first coordinate. As before, player 1 calls out ‘hit’ or ‘miss’
  • Once a battleship has had all the coordinates called out, the player who’s battleship it is shouts ‘battleship sunk’. The other player marks this on their grid.
  • The winner is the first person to sink all the other player’s battleships.
  • Year 7 Maths At Home
  • Preparing For The Year 6 Transition
  • After SATs Lessons

Maths games for year 8

By the end of year 8, children should be increasingly fluent in making meaningful connections between different mathematical concepts and be able to apply them readily. Children should understand and solve a variety of algebraic equations, understanding how to manipulate expressions and equations fluently. The games in this section will enable children to practice the skills learnt both in year 8 and in previous years. 

This game is a fun way to get children to practise working with algebraic equations, through both thinking of their own and identifying their partner’s. 

  • 0-5 grids (see printable resource pack)
  • Both players have a 0-5 grid, marked ‘a’ and ‘b’.
  • Each player needs to decide on the rule for their grid. For example, a * b means treble a, then add b.
  • Once they have decided on a rule for their grid, they complete 7 answers.
  • Players then swap grids and attempt to work out the other player’s rule, then complete the grid.
  • The winner is the first player to correctly complete the grid.

Thinking ahead? Check out our GCSE Maths page and Algebra lessons!

This game encourages children to focus on both factors and multiples, and gives children a valuable chance to practise their times tables. 

What you need to play:

  • A hundred square (see printable resource pack)
  • 2 pens (different colours)
  • The first player chooses a number on the hundred square and crosses it out.
  • The next player chooses a second number to cross out in a different colour. This number must be a factor or multiple of the first number.
  • Continue crossing out numbers, ensuring that each number crossed out is a factor or multiple of the previous number that has just been crossed out.
  • The first person who is unable to cross out a number loses and the other player earns one point.
  • The winner is the first player to use their multiplication tables to get to five points.

If you liked this, then check out our times tables games !

A game that can be used to get children to identify the basic properties of individual numbers (e.g. square number, multiple, factor). The child guessing has to prioritise which questions are going to enable them to get closer to the answer.

  • At least two players
  • Pen and paper
  • Scorecard to keep track of player scores each go
  • Each player writes down a set of different values (e.g. 5 numbers) for the other player(s) to guess.
  • Player 1 asks a question about the other player’s number (e.g. is your number a multiple of 5?).
  • If the answer is ‘yes’, player 1 gets to ask another question.
  • If the answer is ‘no’, player 2 gets to ask a question.
  • The winner is the first player to correctly guess the other player’s number. They score one point.
  • The first player to get to five points wins the game.

In this game, children use a range of clues involving division and remainders to work out the mystery number. 

  • Both players think of a number between 1 and 100 for the other player to guess.
  • Player 1 gives a number between 2 and 10.
  • Player 2 works out what the remainder would be if their mystery number was divided by that number.
  • For example, player 2 may have chosen 44. If player 1 chose a 3 as their first number, then player 2 tells them what the remainder would be if their number was divided by 3. In this case, it would be a remainder of 2.
  • Players jot down this information, to help them work out the number once all the clues have been used.
  • Roles then swap and player 2 gives player one a number. Player 1 works out what the remainder would be if their number was divided by the number given by player 2.
  • This continues. The winner is the first player to correctly identify the number.
  • Top 25 maths games
  • 24 KS1 maths games
  • 26 KS2 maths games
  • Place value games

Maths games for year 9

During year 9, pupils continue to build upon the key skills from year 7 and year 8. One of the other key procedures and formulae they investigate is Pythagoras’ theorem. The games in this section will build a pupil’s understanding of Pythagoras’ theorem and enable them to practise other skills learnt during their time in key stage 3.

This game encourages pupils to look at multiple steps they can use to get from one number to another number. It also encourages the use of inverse operations/checking of calculations to check whether answers are correct – one of the most valuable maths skills they’ll learn! 

  • One or more players
  • Scorecard 
  • Each player is given the same starting number and answer to use (e.g. starting number of 6, answer of 17).
  • Each player has 1 minute to write down the steps they would take to get from 6 to 17.
  • Players can use any numbers they wish.
  • Players are allowed to repeat an operation to get to an answer (e.g. for getting from 6 to 17, players can just do 6 +1, +1, +1 etc. until they get to 17), but will only score 1 point for each  different  operation.
  • The number of  different  steps used is the score (e.g. 5  different  steps = 5 points).
  • E.g. to get from 6 to 17 in the time given:  6 (x3) = 18 (+9) = 27 (+8) = 35 (/5) = 7 (+10) = 17 . This would score 5 points.
  • Each player scores their number of different steps taken for each round.
  • The player with the most points after the number of rounds played is the winner.
  • Players are encouraged to check each other’s answers and the steps taken.
  • If any stage is incorrect, the player scores 0 points for that round.

This is a number game to encourage pupils to think carefully about strategies needed to get an answer within a range of totals. The more individual numbers used to get an answer, the more points the player gets. Pupils need to decide whether a strategy of getting maximum points for each answer or using fewer numbers to get each answer is the best method.

  • Playing cards can be used to generate numbers to be used by player(s) in the game
  • 5 numbers are selected at random.
  • A consecutive set of 10 answers is agreed to work towards (e.g. 21-30, 41-50).
  • Players are given a 5-minute time limit to get the answers to as many of the totals as possible.
  • Players cannot repeat the use of a number for a single answer (unless it is part of the ones they have).
  • The more individual numbers used for an answer, the more points can be awarded.
  • E.g. the selected numbers are  9   5   2   7   1 and consecutive totals are from 21-30.
  • For 23, the player could get to it using the following calculations: ( 7  x  5 ) = 35, ( 9  +  2  +  1 ) = 12, 35 – 12 = 23. Because 5 different numbers were used, the score is 5 points.
  • For 28, the player could get to it using the following calculations: ( 5  –  1 ) = 4, 4 x  7  = 28. Because 3 different numbers have been used, the score is 3 points.
  • If a player has two of the same answer (eg: two methods for getting 23), whichever one used more of their numbers is the points they score.

This is a more challenging version of the standard, whole number game of countdown and requires players to carry out the 4 operations using fractions and whole numbers.

  • Whole number cards (see printable resource pack)
  • Fraction cards (see printable resource pack)
  • 10-sided dice or 1-10 digit cards
  • Place the whole number and fraction cards into 2 piles.
  • Players take it in turns to select a card from the whole number or the fraction card pile.
  • Once 6 cards have been selected, place them face-up on the table.
  • A target number then needs to be generated (either using a 10-sided dice or 1-10 digit cards to generate the numerator and denominator).
  • Players have 2 minutes to try and reach the target number using any of the 6 fraction/whole number cards and any of the 4 operations.
  • The winner is the first to reach the target number or the player who is closest after 2 minutes.

This is a great game for practising the rules of BIDMAS alongside strategy skills. It can be played individually or against other players.

  • 1 or more players
  • Number grid 1-50
  • 2 coloured pens
  • The first player throws the 4 dice to generate 4 numbers. 
  • Using BIDMAS, they write a number sentence and colour in the square on the 1-50 grid, which contains the answer.
  • The aim of the game is to be the first player to colour in 4 squares in a row. 

Prepare for year 10 and year 11 with our GCSE Maths pages!

KS3 mental maths games

Mental maths games are great for practising a range of mental maths concepts, whilst not requiring resources or time to set up. They can be used as a quick warm up at the start of a lesson, a fun way to consolidate learning at the end of a lesson, or as a time filler at any point in the day.

This game is good for developing logical thinking and problem solving.

  • Set of playing cards – Ace to 10 (Ace is worth 1)
  • Both players select 4 playing cards.
  • With the 4 cards, they have 2 minutes to make a 2-digit + 2-digit number sentence which is closest to 50.
  • The number sentence closest to 50 scores 1 point. If the player creates a calculation with exactly 50 as the answer, they earn 2 points.
  • The winner is the player with the most points after 5 rounds.
  • To add further complexity to this game, you could give each player 6 cards and then add a ‘wild’ negative number card into the game which both players have to use in their round. 

This is a simple mental subtraction game, which doesn’t require any resources. An easy interactive game to play when there are a spare few minutes.

  • Starting with the number 123, the first player chooses an amount to subtract.
  • The number subtracted must contain one digit from the previous answer.
  • The player could choose to subtract 22, so the new number would be 101.
  • A zero cannot be subtracted, so the next number has to contain a 1. 
  • The next player could subtract 11, so the new number is 90.
  • The only number that can be subtracted now is 9.
  • The game continues. The first player to get to zero is the winner. 
  • The game can be played with a different starting number each time.

This mental maths game is popular for any age. Younger children can access it on a more basic level, whereas older children can use more complex calculations. It works well in small groups, or as a whole class activity, and encourages players to think deeply to identify calculations that will get them to the target number.

  • 4 ‘large number’ cards – 25, 50, 75, 100
  • 2 sets of 1-10 cards 
  • Set out the large number cards face down in one pile and the small number cards face down in another pile.
  • Players take it in turns to choose a card from either the small or the large number piles and place it face down on the table.
  • Once there are 6 cards face-up on the table, the target number needs to be generated.
  • The target number can be generated by picking 3 number cards from a pile of 0-9 cards.
  • Once the number has been generated, children have 2 minutes to try and reach that total using the 6 cards selected.
  • Children can use any calculation using the 6 numbers, but each number can only be used once.
  • The winner is the first person to reach the target number or the person to have the closest answer after 2 minutes.

This game is a great problem solving and ‘low floor, high ceiling game’, as players search for a solution. They can use only the basic calculations to reach the target number, or they can utilise much more complex mathematical calculations.

  • A pack of cards (number cards only)
  • Shuffle the pack of cards and lay face down on the table.
  • Each player picks a card and turns it face-up on the table until there are 4 cards displayed.
  • The aim of the game is to make ‘24’ using only the cards on the table and any of the 4 operations.
  • For example, if they have a 6, 10, 2 and 6, the solution could be very simple, such as basic addition i.e. 6 + 10 + 2 + 6 = 24.
  • Older children may include more complex operations involving brackets, for example, they may have 9, 5, 6 and 9 and solve it by 5 – (9 ÷ 9) x 6 = 24.
  • If nobody is able to reach 24, the player who is the closest wins.

This is another great game for practising mental maths and numeracy skills using all four operations.

  • Playing cards with all picture cards (other than the Jacks removed)
  • In this game, the 1-10 cards represent their numbers, and the Jacks can represent any number from 1-10.
  • The aim of the game is to reach the target number. To make the target number, shuffle the pack and turn over the top 2 cards. If either is a 10 or Jack, put them to the bottom.
  • The 2 cards turned over make the target number. For example, if you turn over a 6 of spades and a 4 of hearts, your target number will be 64.
  • Each player is dealt 5 cards, which are set out face up. Players can then add, subtract, multiply and divide to try to reach the target number. 
  • If a target number is reached using all 5 cards, 10 points are scored. If 4 cards are used, 8 points are scored. If 3 cards are used, 6 points are scored, and so on.
  • The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.

KS3 problem solving games

Problem-solving games are a great way for pupils to deepen their mathematical understanding. These games require children to think strategically and to approach problems in different ways. 

This is a number game to encourage children to think carefully about strategies needed to get an answer within a range of totals. The more individual numbers used to get an answer, the more points the player gets. Children need to decide whether a strategy of getting maximum points for each answer or using fewer numbers to get each answer is the best method.

  • 6 numbers are selected at random.
  • E.g. the example numbers given are:  4   8   6   3   5   9 and consecutive totals are from 31-40.
  • For 31, the player could carry out the following calculations: ( 4  x  8 ) = 32, ( 6  –  5 ) = 1, 32 – 1 = 31. Because 4 different numbers were used, the score is  4 points .
  • For 37, the player could carry out the following calculations: ( 4  x  9 ) = 36, ( 8  +  3 ) = 11, ( 6  +  5 ) = 11, 36 + (11 / 11) = 37. Because 6 different numbers were used, the score is  6 points .
  • If a player has two of the same answer (e.g. two methods for getting 31), whichever one used more of their numbers is the points they score.

This problem-solving game is quite a challenging maths activity. It requires players to think deeply about the calculations they use and how they can use quite complex calculations to achieve solutions.

  • A set of cards numbered 2-9
  • Shuffle the number cards and place them face down on the table.
  • The first player picks one of the cards. 
  • This is their ‘5 of a kind’ number. For example, if they selected a 6, they would have 6, 6, 6, 6 and 6 to use.
  • The aim of the game is to use one or more of the 5 digits to get an answer between one and ten.
  • If for example, the player chose a 7, they would then need to use one or more of the digits to make the answer 1, 2, 3 up to 10. To make 1, they could do 7 ÷ 7. To make 2 they could do (7 ÷ 7) + (7 ÷ 7) etc.
  • This is a challenging game, but the winner is the player to achieve the most answers between 1 and 10.

This is a great strategy game and with no set up required, it’s easy to play at any time. It involves adding, but players need to think carefully about the strategy they use and whether they are able to find a winning strategy.

  • The target number for the game is 23.
  • The first player chooses a number from 1 to 4.
  • Players take turns to add a whole number from 1 to 4 to the running total.
  • The player who lands on 23 wins the game.
  • Players need to think about their strategy and plan ahead.

This is another good strategy game, not only requiring players to think about their own game but also that of the other player’s.

  • Square dot paper
  • The first player places a coloured dot on one of the dots on the squared paper.
  • The second player does the same, using a different colour pen.
  • This continues until one of the players has placed 4 dots which can be joined together to form a square.
  • The square can be any size on the grid and can also be tilted.
  • The game requires both players to be working out their own strategy, whilst also keeping a close eye on the other player’s game, to ensure any potential squares are blocked.

This is a fun game and challenging activity, similar to playing with a Rubik’s cube.

  • 27 cubes (3 each of 9 colours) per person
  • This game can be played individually, or as a speed challenge against other players.
  • Each player needs to make a large cube using the 27 small cubes.
  • The aim of the game is to be the quickest player to make a large cube with all 9 cubes on each face containing only 1 of each cube colour.
  • If any face contains more than one of the same colour cube, the player hasn’t successfully completed the challenge.

Hopefully, this blog has given you some ideas for games you could play in your classroom. Most are easy to adapt, to suit any age or the topic you are covering. Don’t just adapt the games yourself; give children the opportunity to adapt and think up their own rules too.

Download the free KS3 Maths Games Printable Resource Pack

Looking for additional support and resources at KS3? You are welcome to download any of the secondary maths resources from Third Space Learning’s resource library for free. There is a section devoted to GCSE maths revision with plenty of maths worksheets and GCSE maths questions . There are also maths tests for KS3, including a Year 7 maths test , a Year 8 maths test and a Year 9 maths test Other valuable maths practice and ideas particularly around reasoning and problem solving at secondary can be found in our KS3 and KS4 maths blog articles. Try these fun maths problems for KS2 and KS3, SSDD problems , KS3 maths games and 30 problem solving maths questions . For children who need more support, our maths intervention programmes for KS3 achieve outstanding results through a personalised one to one tuition approach.

Do you have students who need extra support in maths? Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of students across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons and maths interventions designed to address learning gaps and boost progress. Since 2013 we’ve helped over 150,000 primary and secondary students become more confident, able mathematicians. Learn more or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.

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