Without a calculator, work out the cheapest route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas:
Los Angeles  15  23  13 
23  25  12  26 
25  18  14  Las Vegas 
You can move from square to square horizontally or vertically (but not diagonally). Each time you enter a square you have to pay the amount shown.
Topics: Starter  Arithmetic  Puzzles
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.
Click here to enter your comments.
If you don't have the time to provide feedback we'd really appreciate it if you could give this page a score! We are constantly improving and adding to these starters so it would be really helpful to know which ones are most useful. Simply click on a button below:
This starter has scored a mean of 3.5 out of 5 based on 308 votes.
Previous Day  This starter is for 20 November  Next Day
There are 10 different five step routes from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Los Angeles  15  23  13  26  Las Vegas [Total = 77]
Los Angeles  15  23  12  26  Las Vegas [Total = 76]
Los Angeles  15  23  12  14  Las Vegas [Total = 64]
Los Angeles  15  25  12  26  Las Vegas [Total = 78]
Los Angeles  15  25  12  14  Las Vegas [Total = 66]
Los Angeles  15  25  18  14  Las Vegas [Total = 72]
Los Angeles  23  25  12  26  Las Vegas [Total = 86]
Los Angeles  23  25  12  14  Las Vegas [Total = 74]
Los Angeles  23  25  18  14  Las Vegas [Total = 80]
Los Angeles  23  25  18  14  Las Vegas [Total = 80]
So the cheapest route costs 64 (dollars). Here is a way of getting that total:
Los Angeles  15  23  13 
23  25  12  26 
25  18  14  Las Vegas 
You can view another version of this starter generated from random numbers. Puzzle 1 is the easiest, puzzle 5 is very difficult.
Alternatively you can change the size of the grid to make the problem more complex:
Number of rows: Number of columns:
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.
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. 
Casio Classwiz CalculatorThere 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 highresolution 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 highperformance processor and twice the memory of previous models ensuring speedy operation and superior computational power.more... 
GCSE Revision and PracticeWhatever exam board you use for GCSE Mathematics, this book by David Rayner remains an allround winner. With this latest edition presented in full colour and completely updated for the new GCSE(91) specifications, this uniquely effective text continues to increase your chance of obtaining a good grade. This book is targeted at the Higher tier GCSE, and provides a wealth of practice with careful progression, alongside substantial revision support for the newstyle grading and exam questions. With all the new topics included, and a dedicated section on using and applying mathematics, this unique resource can be used either as a course book over two or three years or as a revision text in the runup to exams. more... 
Teacher, do your students have
access to computers? 

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.
Transum.org/go/?Start=November20
Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.