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.

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

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

Nincompoop: Which algebraic expression is the odd one out?

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.

Refreshing Revision: It is called Refreshing Revision because every time you refresh the page you get different revision questions.

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' and there are four randomly generated THOAN puzzles to solve.

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

Advanced Algebra Starters


Small images of these Starters | | |  Complete Index of Starters

Featured Activity

Playing Card Maths

Playing Card Maths

Imagine you are on a desert island with nothing but a pack of playing cards. Do you have to stop learning mathematics? Of course not! Here are some great ideas for teachers, parents and tutors.



Comment recorded on the 23 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Judy, Chatsmore CHS:

"This triangle starter is excellent. I have used it with all of my ks3 and ks4 classes and they are all totally focused when counting the triangles."

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 14 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Trish Bailey, Kingstone School:

"This is a great memory aid which could be used for formulae or key facts etc - in any subject area. The PICTURE is such an aid to remembering where each number or group of numbers is - my pupils love it!

Comment recorded on the 1 February 'Starter of the Day' page by Terry Shaw, Beaulieu Convent School:

"Really good site. Lots of good ideas for starters. Use it most of the time in KS3."

Comment recorded on the 1 August 'Starter of the Day' page by Peter Wright, St Joseph's College:

"Love using the Starter of the Day activities to get the students into Maths mode at the beginning of a lesson. Lots of interesting discussions and questions have arisen out of the activities.
Thanks for such a great resource!"

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 17 June 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Hall, Light Hall School, Solihull:

"Dear Transum,

I love you website I use it every maths lesson I have with every year group! I don't know were I would turn to with out you!"

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 21 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Mr Trainor And His P7 Class(All Girls), Mercy Primary School, Belfast:

"My Primary 7 class in Mercy Primary school, Belfast, look forward to your mental maths starters every morning. The variety of material is interesting and exciting and always engages the teacher and pupils. Keep them coming please."

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."

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 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 11 January 'Starter of the Day' page by S Johnson, The King John School:

"We recently had an afternoon on accelerated learning.This linked really well and prompted a discussion about learning styles and short term memory."

Comment recorded on the 18 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs. Peacock, Downe House School and Kennet School:

"My year 8's absolutely loved the "Separated Twins" starter. I set it as an optional piece of work for my year 11's over a weekend and one girl came up with 3 independant solutions."

Comment recorded on the 1 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Phil Anthony, Head of Maths, Stourport High School:

"What a brilliant website. We have just started to use the 'starter-of-the-day' in our yr9 lessons to try them out before we change from a high school to a secondary school in September. This is one of the best resources on-line we have found. The kids and staff love it. Well done an thank you very much for making my maths lessons more interesting and fun."

Comment recorded on the 28 September 'Starter of the Day' page by Malcolm P, Dorset:

"A set of real life savers!!
Keep it up and thank you!"

Comment recorded on the 16 March 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs A Milton, Ysgol Ardudwy:

"I have used your starters for 3 years now and would not have a lesson without one! Fantastic way to engage the pupils at the start of a lesson."

Comment recorded on the 2 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Angela Lowry, :

"I think these are great! So useful and handy, the children love them.
Could we have some on angles too please?"

Comment recorded on the 19 November 'Starter of the Day' page by Lesley Sewell, Ysgol Aberconwy, Wales:

"A Maths colleague introduced me to your web site and I love to use it. The questions are so varied I can use them with all of my classes, I even let year 13 have a go at some of them. I like being able to access the whole month so I can use favourites with classes I see at different times of the week. Thanks."

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 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 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 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 9 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Liz, Kuwait:

"I would like to thank you for the excellent resources which I used every day. My students would often turn up early to tackle the starter of the day as there were stamps for the first 5 finishers. We also had a lot of fun with the fun maths. All in all your resources provoked discussion and the students had a lot of fun."

Comment recorded on the 26 March 'Starter of the Day' page by Julie Reakes, The English College, Dubai:

"It's great to have a starter that's timed and focuses the attention of everyone fully. I told them in advance I would do 10 then record their percentages."

Comment recorded on the 3 October 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs Johnstone, 7Je:

"I think this is a brilliant website as all the students enjoy doing the puzzles and it is a brilliant way to start a lesson."

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 6 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Natalie, London:

"I am thankful for providing such wonderful starters. They are of immence help and the students enjoy them very much. These starters have saved my time and have made my lessons enjoyable."

Comment recorded on the 2 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mrs Wilshaw, Dunsten Collage,Essex:

"This website was brilliant. My class and I really enjoy doing the activites."

Comment recorded on the 24 May 'Starter of the Day' page by Ruth Seward, Hagley Park Sports College:

"Find the starters wonderful; students enjoy them and often want to use the idea generated by the starter in other parts of the lesson. Keep up the good work"


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.

How old was Diophantus?: An ancient riddle which can be answered by solving an equation containing fractions.

Online Psychic: Let the psychic read the cards and reveal which number you have chosen.

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 Fractions: A mixture of algebraic fraction calculations and simplifications.

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.

BIDMAS Game: An online interactive game celebrating the order of mathematical operations.

Brackets: Expand algebraic expressions containing brackets and simplify the resulting expression in this self marking exercise.

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?

Collecting Like Terms: Practise your algebraic simplification skills with this self marking exercise.

Completing the Square: Practise this technique for use in solving quadratic equations and analysing graphs.

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

Equations: A series of exercises, 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.

Formulae to Remember: The traditional pairs or pelmanism game adapted to test recognition for formulae required to be memorised for GCSE exams.

Function Builder: An interactive function machine for patterns, numbers and equations.

Functions: An online exercise on function notation, inverse functions and composite functions.

Identity, Equation or Formula?: Arrange the given statements in groups to show whether they are identities, equations or formulae.

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.

Iteration: Find approximate solutions to equations numerically using iteration.

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

Matchstick Patterns: Create a formula to describe the nth term of a sequence by examining the structure of the diagrams.

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

Nevertheless: Players decide where to place the cards to make an equation with the largest possible solution.

Online Psychic: Let the psychic read the cards and reveal which number you have chosen.

Quadratic Equations: Solve these quadratic equations in this seven-level, self-marking online exercise.

Quadratic Sequences: Deduce expressions to calculate the nth term of quadratic sequences.

Recurring Decimals: Change recurring decimals into their corresponding fractions and vica versa.

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. 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.

Writing Expressions: Listen to the voice saying the algebraic expression then write it in its simplest form.

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

Algebra Investigations:

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

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.

Function Builder: An interactive function machine for patterns, numbers and equations.

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.

Algebra Videos:

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

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

Simultaneous Equations (Substitution): This video demonstrates how to solve simultaneous equations by substitution.

Algebra Worksheets/Printables:

Simultaneous Equations Extension Exercise: An exercise that appeared in an algebra book published in 1895. It starts with basic questions but soon gets tricky!

Algebra External Links:

Links to other websites containing resources for Algebra are provided for those logged into 'Transum Mathematics'. Subscribing also opens up the opportunity for you to add your own links to this panel. You can sign up using one of the buttons below:


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 box below.






Is there anything you would have a regular use for that we don't feature here? Please let us know.

Recently Updated

Yes No Questions

Yes No Questions

A game to determine the mathematical item by asking questions that can only be answered yes or no. So far this activity has been accessed 69 times and it is ready for you to enjoy!



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