A Maths Starter of The Day

The teacher thinks of a four digit number made up of digits in the range 1 to 4. Each student guesses what the four digit number might be. The teacher gives one tick for each digit the student has in the right place. What number is the teacher thinking of?

 Abigail : 2134 Olivia : 4232 Isabella : 3232 Hannah : 2142 Samantha : 4131 Ava : 3434 Ashley : 3423 Sophia : 4431 Elizabeth : 4211 Alexis : 3241 Grace : 1232 Sarah : 3114 Alyssa : 2341 Mia : 4212 Natalie : 4213 Chloe : 2112 Brianna : 2412 Lauren : 1123 Ella : 3344 Anna : 3124

Note for Teacher: All of the students guesses above will probably not fit on the screen at the same time. You may wish to keep the lower guesses hidden so as not to make the activity too easy.

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Topics: Starter | Logic | Puzzles

• Mr James, Hertfordshire
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• 1441, Brilliant starter! Really gets them to use their logical side!
• N Cox, Ipswich
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• Great number idea based on the Mastermind game. I have also used a developed version of this with pupils where they get a dot if they have a right digit in the wrong place and a star for the right digit in the right place. They play this in pairs as a starter.
• SFBS 4M 2010, Seoul
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• We think it's 1432. Where's the answer page?
• Mrs. Smith, Florida
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• My student's think it is 2444. What is the answer?
• Mrs. Smith, Florida
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• Ah...nevermind. It changes each time the page is reloaded.
• Anna Chapman, St Leonards East Sussex
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• My 10-11 year olds found this hard because they don't have experience of the original game. Tips for a strategy might have helped.
• Miss. Jane Smith, New Jersy
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• It was good but needed to be easier,never mind my class did'nt get it..... again...
• Steve Scanlon, Adult Numeracy Tutor
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• Interesting the references to the 'original game'. My maths teacher taught me this game at the end of the 1960s as "Cows and Bulls". A Cow was the right number in the wrong place and a Bull was the right number in the right place (I know, sexist language). This was several years before "Mastermind".
• Mrs G, NZ
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• My classes love Mathstermind and many students ask for it every day. Awesome thanks!! (just press f5 for a new one and work it out before they do - using the numbers with NO ticks is easiest!).
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• It was a great Starter. My class seemed to understand the logic. We got 2423.
• Brice Hudson, DanielCenter Math And Science NC
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• My students think its 2413.
• Transum,
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• Just a quick reminder that this puzzle changes every time the page is loaded so don't worry if you don't get the same answers as mentioned in the comments above! There is a suggested strategy below.
• Mrs Peters, Snowdon Y4, 5 And 6
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• We found this really difficult becathe ticks didn't make sense, for example Mia had no ticks and Destiny has 3 ticks, but both shared some of the same numbers and in the same places. However, we are going to play try the Mastermind game in class.
• Red Hill Field Primary School, Twitter
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• Kelly, Manchester
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• The answer must be 2134. The best strategy is to decide which numbers can not be by looking at the answers the children have submitted with no ticks. This, in most cases, only leave the possible solution.

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.

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Not for me! I wouldn't use this type of activity.

This starter has scored a mean of 3.5 out of 5 based on 255 votes.

Previous Day | This starter is for 27 May | Next Day

4222

 Change Numbers:

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 a button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers. There is a choice of three levels; easy, medium and hard.

 Advanced: Finding a unique solution may not be possible.

Possible strategy: Make a grid showing the possible digits which could appear in each of the four positions. By looking at the clues which do not have any ticks by them, cross of the digits which can't appear in each position.

There should now be only a limited choice for the correct digits:

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 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).

Transum.org/go/?Start=May27

Here is the URL which will take them to a student version of this activity.

Transum.org/go/?to=frustration

For Students:

For All: