Sum of the Signs

Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = 16
Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = ?
Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = ?
Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign Road Sign = 21
= 26 = 24 = ? = ?  

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

[Teacher: Press the F11 key and hide the remaining toolbar to show the whole of this grid if it doesn't fit on your screen]

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


Topics: Starter | Algebra | Logic | Problem Solving | Puzzles | Simultaneous Equations

  • Mr. H, Mary Hare School
  • Chloe found a different solution.
  • The Best Maths Class Ever. 7cd/M2, King Alfred's College, Oxfordshire UK
  • Jack, Georgina and Patrick found the solution very quickly. Olivia found out that the top column was the same as the right side column. Some of us found it hard (including sir!!).
  • Year 9, Leicester
  • Very hard and dodgy answers!
    Maybe a good starter for older classes.
  • Transum,
  • Thanks for the comments above. They refer to the randomly generated puzzle which you can see by pressing the button below. The puzzle you see the first time you visit this page should be reasonable for a 10 to 14 year old to solve and has a unique solution. Let us know how it works for your students.
  • Apex Year5/6, Apex Primary
  • At Apex, our year5/6 class found is quite easy! but a good starter :).
  • Selina, Stanwell Fields
  • Easy for us 6 year 6.
  • Karris, Oxford University
  • Easy! The Class love it.
  • Mrs Webster, Brackenwood Junior School
  • On the whole Y4 enjoyed this task but some children found it quite tricky.
  • Mjd School, 6
  • This is cool for the year 6.
  • 8E, Friary
  • 8E at Friary School found this 'a bit easy'! Something a bit more challenging please!

    [Transum: Well done 8E. Did you scroll down the page and see the extension?]

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
Click here to enter your comments.

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Excellent, I would like to see more like this
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Not for me! I wouldn't use this type of activity.

This starter has scored a mean of 3.2 out of 5 based on 454 votes.

Previous Day | This starter is for 11 March | Next Day



Road Sign = 6   Road Sign = 7
Road Sign = 2   Road Sign = 11

Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.

Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon search box and some items chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics to get you started.

Have you read Craig's book yet?

Craig Barton must surely be the voice of Mathematics teachers in the UK. His wonderful podcasts interviewing the industry experts have culminated in this wonderful book. As Craig says: "I genuinely believe I have never taught mathematics better, and my students have never learned more. I just wish I had known all of this twelve years ago..." more...

"How I wish I'd taught Maths" is an extraordinary and important book. Part guide to research, part memoir, part survival handbook, it’s a wonderfully accessible guide to the latest research on teaching mathematics, presented in a disarmingly honest and readable way. I know of no other book that presents as much usable research evidence on the dos and don’ts of mathematics teaching in such a clear and practical way. No matter how long you have been doing it, if you teach mathematics—from primary school to university—this book is for you." Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment, UCL.

The Craig Barton Book

Casio Classwiz Calculator

There is currently a lot of talk about this new calculator being the best in its price range for use in the Maths classroom. The new ClassWiz features a high-resolution display making it easier to view numerical formulas and symbols but it isn't a graphical calculator as such (it has the capacity to draw graphs on your smart phone or tablet, via a scannable QR code and an app).

As well as basic spreadsheet mode and an equation solving feature you also get the ability to solve quadratic, cubic or quartic polynomial inequalities and the answer is given just as it should be written down, using the correct inequality symbols!

This calculator has a high-performance processor and twice the memory of previous models ensuring speedy operation and superior computational power.more...

Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers?
Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons?

Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Laptops In Lessons

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.

Here is the URL which will take them to another problem solving activity.

Student Activity


The answer to this puzzle is not 12. What is it?


Extension Answers


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