Tag Archives: problem

299. Is it good value for money?

Those ‘value for money’ or ‘best buy’ questions always put some students into a muddle. The usual response is ‘The bigger pack is always better value for money, so why have I got to do working out?’

Really? Is that always true?

Try these packets of cereal (Weetabix) from Asda:

The first one says 72 biscuits for £5.68


The second one says £3 for 48 biscuits.

Put the price and number of biscuits per pack on the board and ask students what they think. Once they’ve discussed it you could ask whether they thought that kind of pricing happened in real life.  Then you can pull the starter together by projecting these pictures onto the screen/board.

290. Alcoholic Percentages

The season of gratuitous excess is upon us and the reminders about safely consuming alcohol are popping up in supermarkets … usually next to the massive bottle of brandy, which are on special offer! We educators are counting the days to the holiday break.

But wait!

Keep your eyes peeled for all the alcohol awareness promotions. My local supermarket had information leaflets and these goodies:


Forget doing percentages about sale prices. How about working out the volume of alcohol in different beverages? Finding out how easy it could be to exceed the recommended intake? A bit of education of the effects of alcohol in a cross curricular lesson?

Now how much brandy soaked Christmas cake is equivalent to one unit of alcohol?

247. The Elf Challenge

It was the month before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring – except for the senior elves who were on the brink of all out war. Father Christmas had picked up some leadership strategies on his travels and decided to send his management elves on a team building day … paintballing!

Don’t be fooled – this is no simple Christmas time-filler. This task requires problem solving strategies, two-way tables, averages, data analysis and logic. In fact, you might want to have a go yourself. There is a task sheet, support sheet and solution.

The Elf Challenge (pdf)

Enjoy the puzzled faces and watch the arguments when students try to justify their answers.

61. St George’s Day Investigation

Here is a quick St George’s day area investigation for the 23rd April.


What size cross must be drawn for the areas of red and white to be equal?

Assume the flag is a rectangle and the strips of the cross are the same width.

KS2/3: investigate by counting squares or working out areas.

KS3/4: extend to an algebraic solution if appropriate

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50. When will I ever use this …


A prescription says to take 2 pills every 4 hours, but don’t take more than 8 pills in 24hrs. There are 100 pills in a prescription.

If you start taking them on the 22nd March, when do you stop taking them? Assume you start taking them at midday and are in bed by 2230.

You can’t get a more real-life maths problem than that!