Transum Maths Software


There are 366 different Starters of The Day, many to choose from. You will find in the left column below some starters on the topic of Algebra. In the right column below are links to related online activities, videos and teacher resources.

A lesson starter does not have to be on the same topic as the main part of the lesson or the topic of the previous lesson. It is often very useful to revise or explore other concepts by using a starter based on a totally different area of Mathematics.

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Algebra Starters:

Add 'em: Add up a sequence of consecutive numbers. Can you find a quick way to do it?

Arithmagons: This lesson starter requires pupils to find the missing numbers in this partly completed arithmagon puzzle.

BTS: You have four minutes to write down as many equations as you can involving B, T and S.

Cars: Calculate the total cost of four cars from the information given.

Chin Ups: Work out the number of chin ups the characters do on the last day of the week give information about averages.

Christmas Presents: Work out the total cost of five Christmas presents from the information given.

Connecting Rules: Give 20 rules connecting x and y given their values.

Giraffe: The height of this giraffe is three and a half metres plus half of its height. How tall is the giraffe?

Half Hearted: Find the number which when added to the top (numerator) and bottom (denominator) of each fraction make it equivalent to one half.

Khmer's Homework: Check a student's homework. If you find any of the answers are wrong write down a sentence or two explaining what he did wrong.

Lemon Law: Change the numbers on the apples so that the number on the lemon is the given total.

Less Than: This mathematics lesson starter invites pupils to interpret a three part algebraic inequality.

Light Shopping: A lamp and a bulb together cost 32 pounds. The lamp costs 30 pounds more than the bulb. How much does the bulb cost?

Missing Lengths: Introduce linear equations by solving these problems about about lengths.

Negative Vibes: Practise techniques for answering questions involving negative numbers.

Nincompoop: Which algebraic expression is the odd one out?

Online Psychic: Work out why subtracting a two digit number from its reverse gives a multiple of nine.

Planet Numpair: The sum and product are given, can you find the two numbers?

PYA: You have four minutes to write down as many equations as you can involving the given letters.

Pyramid Puzzle: Arrange numbers at the bottom of the pyramid which will give the largest total at the top.

Rabbits and Chickens: There are some rabbits and chickens in a field. Calculate how many of each given the number of heads and feet.

Rail Weigh: Record the weights of the trains to work out the weight of a locomotive and a coach. A real situation which produces simultaneous equations.

Same Same: A problem involving two people's ages which can be solved using algebra.

Santa's Sleigh: Work out the number of clowns and horses given the number of heads and feet.

Sea Shells: A question which can be best answered by using algebra.

Simultaneous Occasions: A problem which can best be solved as a pair of simultaneous equations.

Stable Scales: Solve these balance puzzles by taking the same away from both sides. An introduction to linear equations.

Sum of the Signs: Each traffic sign stands for a number. Some of the sums of rows and columns are shown. What numbers might the signs stand for?

Summer Holidays: There are some children and donkeys on a beach. Together they have 25 heads and 64 legs. How many children? How many donkeys?

Think Back: A problem which can be answered by forming an algebraic equation then solving it.

THOAN: THOAN stands for 'Think of a number'

Ticker News: A Think Of A Number problem presented as a news ticker.


Complete Index of Starters

Featured Activity

Lemon Law

Lemon Law

A fascinating digit changing challenge. Change the numbers on the apples so that the number on the lemon is the given total. Can you figure out, by understanding place value, how this works?



Comment recorded on the 25 June 'Starter of the Day' page by Inger.kisby@herts and, :

"We all love your starters. It is so good to have such a collection. We use them for all age groups and abilities. Have particularly enjoyed KIM's game, as we have not used that for Mathematics before. Keep up the good work and thank you very much
Best wishes from Inger Kisby"

Comment recorded on the 28 May 'Starter of the Day' page by L Smith, Colwyn Bay:

"An absolutely brilliant resource. Only recently been discovered but is used daily with all my classes. It is particularly useful when things can be saved for further use. Thank you!"

Comment recorded on the 8 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Smith, West Sussex, UK:

"I am an NQT and have only just discovered this website. I nearly wet my pants with joy.
To the creator of this website and all of those teachers who have contributed to it, I would like to say a big THANK YOU!!! :)."

Comment recorded on the 19 June 'Starter of the Day' page by Nikki Jordan, Braunton School, Devon:

"Excellent. Thank you very much for a fabulous set of starters. I use the 'weekenders' if the daily ones are not quite what I want. Brilliant and much appreciated."

Comment recorded on the 10 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Carol, Sheffield PArk Academy:

"3 NQTs in the department, I'm new subject leader in this new academy - Starters R Great!! Lovely resource for stimulating learning and getting eveyone off to a good start. Thank you!!"

Comment recorded on the 7 December 'Starter of the Day' page by Cathryn Aldridge, Pells Primary:

"I use Starter of the Day as a registration and warm-up activity for my Year 6 class. The range of questioning provided is excellent as are some of the images.
I rate this site as a 5!"

Comment recorded on the 3 October 'Starter of the Day' page by S Mirza, Park High School, Colne:

"Very good starters, help pupils settle very well in maths classroom."

Comment recorded on the 3 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Fiona Bray, Cams Hill School:

"This is an excellent website. We all often use the starters as the pupils come in the door and get settled as we take the register."

Comment recorded on the 14 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Inger Kisby, Herts and Essex High School:

"Just a quick note to say that we use a lot of your starters. It is lovely to have so many different ideas to start a lesson with. Thank you very much and keep up the good work."

Comment recorded on the 17 November 'Starter of the Day' page by Amy Thay, Coventry:

"Thank you so much for your wonderful site. I have so much material to use in class and inspire me to try something a little different more often. I am going to show my maths department your website and encourage them to use it too. How lovely that you have compiled such a great resource to help teachers and pupils.
Thanks again"

Comment recorded on the 19 October 'Starter of the Day' page by E Pollard, Huddersfield:

"I used this with my bottom set in year 9. To engage them I used their name and favorite football team (or pop group) instead of the school name. For homework, I asked each student to find a definition for the key words they had been given (once they had fun trying to guess the answer) and they presented their findings to the rest of the class the following day. They felt really special because the key words came from their own personal information."

Comment recorded on the 10 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mike Sendrove, Salt Grammar School, UK.:

"A really useful set of resources - thanks. Is the collection available on CD? Are solutions available?"

Comment recorded on the 9 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Jones, Wales:

"I think that having a starter of the day helps improve maths in general. My pupils say they love them!!!"

Comment recorded on the 5 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Stoner, St George's College of Technology:

"This resource has made a great deal of difference to the standard of starters for all of our lessons. Thank you for being so creative and imaginative."

Comment recorded on the 10 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Transum, :

"Sorry Mike, because some of the starters link to live data on the Internet there is no CD version. Thanks for your comments."

Comment recorded on the 1 February 'Starter of the Day' page by M Chant, Chase Lane School Harwich:

"My year five children look forward to their daily challenge and enjoy the problems as much as I do. A great resource - thanks a million."


Pupils begin their study of algebra by investigating number patterns. Later they construct and express in symbolic form and use simple formulae involving one or many operations. They use brackets, indices and other constructs to apply algebra to real word problems. This leads to using algebra as an invaluable tool for solving problems, modelling situations and investigating ideas.

If this topic were split into four sub topics they might be:

Creating and simplifying expressions;
Expanding and factorising expressions;
Substituting and using formulae;
Solving equations and real life problems;

This is a powerful topic and has strong links to other branches of mathematics such as number, geometry and statistics. See also "Number Patterns", "Negative Numbers" and "Simultaneous Equations".

Algebra Teacher Resources:

eQuation Generator: An unlimited supply of linear equations just waiting to be solved.

Online Psychic: Work out why subtracting a two digit number from its reverse gives a multiple of nine.

Algebra Activities:

Algebra In Action: Real life problems adapted from an old Mathematics textbook which can be solved using algebra.

Algebra Pairs: The classic Pelmanism or pairs game requiring you to match equivalent expressions.

Algebraic Notation: Simplification using the normal conventions of algebra.

BIDMAS: A self marking exercise testing the application of BIDMAS, an acronym describing the order of operations used when evaluating expressions.

Brackets: Simplify and manipulate algebraic expressions involving brackets to maintain equivalence in this self-marking, multi-level quiz.

Changing The Subject: Rearrange a formula in order to find a new subject in this self marking exercise.

Clouds: Can you work out which numbers are hidden behind the clouds in these calculations?

Connecting Rules: If you are given the values of x and y which of these equations is correct?

eQuation Generator: An unlimited supply of linear equations just waiting to be solved.

Equations: A series of exercise, in increasing order of difficulty, requiring you to solve linear equations. The exercises are self marking.

Factorising: Practise the skills of algebraic factorisation in this structured online self marking exercise.

Factorising Quadratics: A drill and practice exercise about factorising quadratics.

Inequalities: Check that you know what inequality signs mean and how they are used to compare two quantities. Includes negative numbers, decimals, fractions and metric measures.

Lemon Law: Change the numbers on the apples so that the number on the lemon is the given total.

Missing Lengths: Find the unknown lengths in the following diagrams and learn some algebra at the same time.

Online Psychic: Work out why subtracting a two digit number from its reverse gives a multiple of nine.

Quadratic Equations: Solve these quadratic equations.

Recurring Decimals: Find the pairs of whole numbers that give the given quotients.

Stable Scales: Ten balance puzzles to prepare you for solving equations.

Substitution: Substitute the given values into the algebraic expressions.

Think of a Number: Ten students think of a number then perform various operations on that number and tell you the answer. You have to find what the original numbers were.

Words and Concepts: Fill in the missing words to show an understanding of the vocabulary of equations, inequalities, terms and factors.

Finally there's Topic Test, a set of 10 randomly chosen, multiple choice questions suggested by people from around the world.

Algebra Investigations:

Crossing the River: Two men and two boys want to cross a river and they only have one canoe which will only hold one man or two boys.

Lamp posts: What is the greatest number of lamp-posts that could be needed for a given village?

Steps: Investigate this growing sequence of steps.

Transum Calendar: Investigate the connection between the numbers in a T shape drawn on this month's calendar.

Algebra Videos:

Quadratic Formula Song: A song from Math Upgrade dot com.

Simultaneous Equations: This video demonstrates how to solve simultaneous equations by elimination.

Algebra External Links:

Links to other websites containing resources for Algebra are provided for teachers logged into 'Class Admin'. Subscribing to this service also opens up the opportunity for you to add your own links to this panel.


The activity you are looking for may have been classified in a different way from the way you were expecting. You can search the whole of Transum Maths by using the Google 'Custom Search' box below.






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Thai Restaurant

Thai Restaurant

Calculate the restaurant bills for each of the tables in the Thai Restaurant.. So far this activity has been accessed 4101 times and 39 people have earned a Transum Trophy for completing it.



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