Match Fish

By moving just three matches can you make it look as
though the fish is swimming to the left?

Match Match Match Match Match Match Match Match



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Topics: Starter | Problem Solving | Puzzles | Symmetry

  • Luke Seymour, Sheffield Park Academy
  • Can you make a supermarket by moving 1 match?

    PLACE 16 MATCHES TO CREATE 4 SQUARES 2 top, 2 bottom

    move one so it spells CO OP
  • , Whitly Bay High
  • This was a good starter it got the children thinking.
  • Miss Star, Newport Middle
  • The kids enjoyed it they found it out in around 20 mins they wanted to do it again and again !
  • Mr Moroca, Dykehouse College
  • I found this really interesting and my class enjoyed doing this starter!
  • Awesome Girl 2012, Eden Prarie, Minnesota Voted Best City To Live In
  • I learned about this from my 4th grade enriched math teacher. This is a good website.
  • Transum,
  • This is a great problem solving activity which is really effective if pupils are working in small groups of two or three. The grouping encourages discussion, justification and explanation of ideas. There are more similar puzzles to be found by following the links below. Don't use live matches though!

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 3.2 out of 5 based on 282 votes.

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Stick Squares

Stick Squares

Move four sticks to new positions in the arrangement so that there are three squares instead of two.

The short web address is:


Matchstick Puzzle

Matchstick Puzzle

Move three matches to new positions in the diagram so that there are five squares instead of three.

The short web address is:


Matchstick Patterns

Matchstick Patterns

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

The short web address is:

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...

Hello World

You are buying a (driverless) car. One vehicle is programmed to save as many lives as possible in a collision. Another promises to prioritize the lives of its passengers. Which do you choose?

Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions – in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want?

Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.

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 are the URLs which will take them to the other student stick moving activities.





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