Think of any number (perhaps your age!). Start at any letter then go around the circle performing each operation in order. Which starting point gives the largest answer? Which gives the smallest?


Topics: Starter | Arithmetic | Problem Solving | Puzzles

  • Year 11 Somerset, Gordano
  • The largest was obviously D said Liz. She knew that F was the least straight away. Liz likes these because they are fun. Leechy was confused!
  • 7C-M1, King Alfred's College OXON
  • We found out that the difference between any two letters is the same, whatever the start number, e.g.
    Using 10 as your start number A=30 and B=40
    Using 1 as your start number A=12 and B=22
    The difference between A and B is always 10. It works with any pair.
    If you divied the number first it will have the least affect at the end number.
  • Year 9 Shapwick School, 9G
  • We found that the difference between A and B was 10 for any starting number. Our largest total was D. We enjoyed this starter.
  • Norm, Robins AFB, Georgia USA
  • I am not a teacher, but I would think that this would emphasize to students that the order of different mathematical operations make a significant difference as to the final outcome.

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The starting point giving the largest answer is D

The starting point giving the smallest answer is F

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. The random version requires Flash and no answers are available.

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