The North Pole Test

It is very cold at the North Pole, so cold that your brain could stop working.

Show that your brain is working well right now by writing out the 90 times table.

How far can you get in five minutes?


North Pole
90 miles   

Try this activity again when you are feeling cold. Can you get as far in five minutes?


A Chilling Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


Topics: Starter | Tables | Xmas

You can find many more ChristMaths activities at:


  • Primary 6 & Mrs Thom, Netherlee PS
  • In five minutes, our primary 6 class managed to get the first 16 stations correct. We felt that it was tricky but a lot of fun. Some were frustrated that if they got one answer wrong then every other answer was also wrong.

    We really enjoyed today's challenge!
  • Matthew, 3D, Craigslea State School
  • I got up to the 29th station in 5 minutes.
    It was fun!
  • Katee Wheeler, ------
  • This starter has some potential and is very helpful and interesting for developing Mathematical skills.
  • Debbie, Guernsey
  • Very absorbing activity! One of my Y5s managed up to 49 x 44 in 5 minutes.

    [Transum: If are reading this comment and wondering why it refers to the 44 times table while you have been presented with another times table it is because a different number appears every time this page is loaded.]
  • Transum,
  • Yes, the cold can really affect your brain in a negative way. Perhaps a chilly day where you live won’t make a big difference but for really cold environments there have been studies which have found that mental changes (reflecting a cooling brain) are the first sign of hypothermia. The tell-tale signs include becoming withdrawn, slower movements, poor coordination, hallucinations, slurred speech, poor memory and eventually loss of consciousness.

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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This starter has scored a mean of 3.0 out of 5 based on 167 votes.

Previous Day | This starter is for 17 December | Next Day



1 x 90 = 90
2 x 90 = 180
3 x 90 = 270
4 x 90 = 360
5 x 90 = 450
6 x 90 = 540
7 x 90 = 630
8 x 90 = 720
9 x 90 = 810
10 x 90 = 900
11 x 90 = 990
12 x 90 = 1080
13 x 90 = 1170
14 x 90 = 1260
15 x 90 = 1350
16 x 90 = 1440
17 x 90 = 1530
18 x 90 = 1620
19 x 90 = 1710
20 x 90 = 1800
21 x 90 = 1890
22 x 90 = 1980
23 x 90 = 2070
24 x 90 = 2160
25 x 90 = 2250
26 x 90 = 2340
27 x 90 = 2430
28 x 90 = 2520
29 x 90 = 2610
30 x 90 = 2700
31 x 90 = 2790
32 x 90 = 2880
33 x 90 = 2970
34 x 90 = 3060
35 x 90 = 3150
36 x 90 = 3240
37 x 90 = 3330
38 x 90 = 3420
39 x 90 = 3510
40 x 90 = 3600
41 x 90 = 3690
42 x 90 = 3780
43 x 90 = 3870
44 x 90 = 3960
45 x 90 = 4050
46 x 90 = 4140
47 x 90 = 4230
48 x 90 = 4320
49 x 90 = 4410
50 x 90 = 4500
51 x 90 = 4590
52 x 90 = 4680
53 x 90 = 4770
54 x 90 = 4860
55 x 90 = 4950
56 x 90 = 5040
57 x 90 = 5130
58 x 90 = 5220
59 x 90 = 5310
60 x 90 = 5400
61 x 90 = 5490
62 x 90 = 5580
63 x 90 = 5670
64 x 90 = 5760
65 x 90 = 5850
66 x 90 = 5940
67 x 90 = 6030
68 x 90 = 6120
69 x 90 = 6210
70 x 90 = 6300
71 x 90 = 6390
72 x 90 = 6480
73 x 90 = 6570
74 x 90 = 6660
75 x 90 = 6750
76 x 90 = 6840
77 x 90 = 6930
78 x 90 = 7020
79 x 90 = 7110
80 x 90 = 7200
81 x 90 = 7290
82 x 90 = 7380
83 x 90 = 7470
84 x 90 = 7560
85 x 90 = 7650
86 x 90 = 7740
87 x 90 = 7830
88 x 90 = 7920
89 x 90 = 8010
90 x 90 = 8100
91 x 90 = 8190
92 x 90 = 8280
93 x 90 = 8370
94 x 90 = 8460
95 x 90 = 8550
96 x 90 = 8640
97 x 90 = 8730
98 x 90 = 8820
99 x 90 = 8910
100 x 90 = 9000

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.

There are a printable worksheets for the more common timestables.


Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more...

How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

What more could the inquisitive adult want for Christmas? This book makes a cosy, interesting read in front of the fire on those cold winter evenings. more...

Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

For the young people in your life it is a great investment. Bought as a Christmas present but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more...

iPad Air

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone.

You have to hold iPad Air to believe it. It’s just 7.5 millimeters thin and weighs just one pound. The stunning Retina display sits inside thinner bezels, so all you see is your content. And an incredible amount of power lies inside the sleek enclosure. So you can do so much more. With so much less. more...

Before giving an iPad as a Christmas gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

Aristotle's Number Puzzle

It’s a bit of a tradition to give puzzles as Christmas Gifts to nieces and nephews. This puzzle is ideal for the keen puzzle solver who would like a challenge that will continue over the festive period (at least!).

This number puzzle involves nineteen numbers arranged into a hexagon. The goal of the puzzle is to rearrange the numbers so each of the fifteen rows add up to 38. It comes in a wooden style with an antique, aged look.

Keep the Maths in Christmaths with this reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

The Story Of Maths [DVD]

The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

Marcus du Sautoy's wonderful programmes make a perfect Christmas gift more...

Click the images above to see all the details of these gift ideas and to buy them online.

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 a game that will help them practise the 90 times table.

Here is the URL which will take them to the most popular multiplication tables app.

Student Activity



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