Love Maths

Find the nine mathematical words hidden in the love story below. The last letters of the hidden words form an anagram of the name of a famous mathematician.

Is love at first sight fact or fiction? Trudi Gittins first met Lee Smith at a popular cafe. She engaged him in useless small talk but offered genuine signs that she fancied him. She told him that she liked to read Dickens and preferred sombre rather than gleeful parties. He said he bought a brand new car each year as it helped him relax. Is love in the air for Trudi and Lee?

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


Topics: Starter | Vocabulary

  • Transum,
  • A new starter for a new (northern hemisphere) academic year. Something quite different as a settling activity before the main part of your lesson. Something that might capture the interest of young people not expecting this kind of start to a mathematics lesson. Something to wake up the memories of the mathematical concepts the words relate to. Please let us all know if your pupils manage to do this activity without any of the words being revealed. Enjoy!
  • Pippa Tyler, Beaminster School, Dorset
  • I set this activity with my Year 10 Set 4 and Year 11 Set 1. They both loved it. The Year 10 class found about half of the words with no help but Year 11 found all 9 and then had great fun trying to unravel the anagram with some interesting names produced!! They did succeed in finding the famous mathematician and then we spent some time finding out what he had done for Maths. A really different starter; please can we have more like this.
  • Chloe Sheppard, Newcastleton
  • This was great if it showed the answers. Don't know whether it was just me who couldn't figure it out. 7 out of 10.

    [Transum: The answers to all of the Starters, online exercise and puzzles are available lower down the page but only appear when signed in]
  • AllontheBoard, Twitter

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:

Excellent, I would like to see more like this
Good, achieved the results I required
Didn't really capture the interest of the students
Not for me! I wouldn't use this type of activity.

This starter has scored a mean of 2.9 out of 5 based on 147 votes.

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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

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 gift for a special occasion 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 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 gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

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

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 another activity involving mathematical words.

Student Activity


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