Without a calculator, work out the cheapest route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas:
Los Angeles  7  6  1 
6  9  3  7 
8  5  4  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
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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  7  6  1  7  Las Vegas [Total = 21]
Los Angeles  7  6  3  7  Las Vegas [Total = 23]
Los Angeles  7  6  3  4  Las Vegas [Total = 20]
Los Angeles  7  9  3  7  Las Vegas [Total = 26]
Los Angeles  7  9  3  4  Las Vegas [Total = 23]
Los Angeles  7  9  5  4  Las Vegas [Total = 25]
Los Angeles  6  9  3  7  Las Vegas [Total = 25]
Los Angeles  6  9  3  4  Las Vegas [Total = 22]
Los Angeles  6  9  5  4  Las Vegas [Total = 24]
Los Angeles  6  8  5  4  Las Vegas [Total = 23]
So the cheapest route costs 20 (dollars). Here is a way of getting that total:
Los Angeles  7  6  1 
6  9  3  7 
8  5  4  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.
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