There are 366 different Starters of The Day, many to choose from. You will find below some starters on the topic of Puzzles. 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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Puzzles Starters:

9:50 Puzzle

A little lateral thinking might help you solve this puzzle.

All for 100

Can you write an expression for 100 which uses all the digits 1 to 9?


A challenge to find the number which when written as a word has all the letters in alphabetical order.


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

Boxing Day

Work out the contents and the cost of the Christmas boxes from the given clues

Bridge Crossing

The classic puzzle of finding a route which crosses each bridge once.

Broken Calculator (3 and 4)

Some keys are missing from this calculator. Just how useful is it?

Christmas Ornaments

A Maths Starter activity requiring students to arrange Christmas ornaments in a square box.


Can you use the digits on the left of this clock along with any mathematical operations to equal the digits on the right?

Coins On The Table

A puzzle about the number of coins on a table given information about fractions of them.

Cube Calendar

What numbers should be on each face of the two cubes to make this perpetual calendar?

Don't Touch!

A number placing puzzle which, when solved, raises the notion of proof.

Eleven Plus Two

Rearrange the letters in the expression 'Eleven Plus Two' to make another expression with the same value.

Freemason's Cipher

Find symmetric words in this ancient cipher.

House Numbers

The numbers on five houses next to each other add up to 70. What are those five numbers?

How Do You Do?

A little lateral thinking will help you solve this number puzzle.

How Many Squares? 1

Work out how many squares are there altogether in the given pattern then tackle the chess board.

How Many Squares? 2

How many squares can be found by joining four dots on the grid?

Intents Excitement

Work out the mathematical words missing from the story about buying a tent.

Lemon Law

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

Letter Clue Calculations

Work out what the calculations might be from the letter clues.

Loopy Lake

Match the fractions to their decimal equivalents and join them with lines that do not cross.

Lucky Numbers

Arrange the numbers so that the totals of the three numbers along any line are the same.

Match Fish

A classic matchstick puzzle designed to challenge your spacial awareness.

Maths Crossword

A small crossword puzzle containing mathematical words.

Maths In School

Find mathematical words which can be made by using the letters in the name of your school?

Mathster Mind

Guess the four digit number with help from the clues.

Mirror Maths

The bottom half of some symmetrical calculations are shown above. Can you work out the answers?

Missing Pound

A puzzle about a restaurant bill. Exactly where did the missing pound go?

Missing Square Puzzle

The missing square puzzle is an optical illusion used to help students reason about geometrical figures.

Missing Terms

Find the missing terms from these linear sequences.

Mix and Match

Work out which team played which from the information given.

Mystery Numbers

Can you recognise the mystery numbers from the clues?

Mystic Maths

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

News Common

Follow the compass directions given in the squares to find where the route starts?

Nine Digit Sum

Arrange the digits one to nine to make a correct addition calculation.

Not Too Close

This activity requires eight students to sit non consecutively on a grid of chairs.

Noughts and Crosses

In how many different ways can the first X and O by placed on the grid?

One Digit 100

How many ways can you write an expression for 100 which only uses the same digit repeated and any operations?

One Torch Tunnel

Work out the least amount of time for four people to walk through a tunnel?


Can you solve this paradox by agreeing whether the statements are right or wrong?


Five numbers are added together in pairs and the sums shown. What might the five numbers be?


A number puzzle suitable for children with a wide range of abilities.


Go around the roundabout performing each of the operations. Which starting point gives the largest answer?

Route to Las Vegas

Work out the cheapest way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas by choosing the best route and adding up the given numbers.

Rows of Roses

Can you draw 4 straight lines, without taking your pencil off the paper, which pass through all 9 roses?

Secret Symbol

Place a symbol between the four and the five to get a number greater than four and less than five.

Separated Twins

Can you find a 14 digit number containing two each of the digits one to seven which obeys the rules given?

Sign Sequences

Continue the sequences if you can work out the rule.

Small Satisfaction

Arrange the digits one to nine in the grid so that they obey the row and column headings.

Square Pairs

Arrange the numbered trees so that adjacent sums are square numbers.

Squared Animals

Separate three rows of three animals using three squares.

Sudoku Sum

What is the sum of the numbers missing from the given Sudoku puzzle?


Interactive number-based logic puzzle similar to those featuring in The Times and Telegraph newspapers.

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?

Sum Square

Arrange the numbers one to eight into the calculations to make the totals correct..


THOAN stands for 'Think of a number' and there are four randomly generated THOAN puzzles to solve.

Tool Triangle

Place the numbers on the triangle so that the totals along each of the sides are equal.

Two Twins and Tim

A tricky problem set on a coordinate grid.

Upside Number

Work out the phone number from the clues given.

What are they?

A starter about sums, products, differences, ratios, square and prime numbers.

Word Search

Create your own mathematical word search for the whole class to enjoy.

Word Sum

Each letter stands for a different digit. Can you make sense of word sum?

Advanced Puzzles Starters


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