As Mary wasn't at school today, her teacher decided to send her the homework by text message using his old mobile phone. Unfortunately the teacher did not know how to use the predictive text facility so the wrong words were sent. Can you figure out the correct NewAnswers?

Predictive Text entry, allows you to enter text by pressing only one key per letter. As you enter a word, the phone will automatically compare all of the possible letter combinations against a built in dictionary of words, and determine which word you intended to type. When it guesses incorrectly, you will get the type of result seen here. Other words have been substituted for the ones we want.


A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day



One + Five = 6

Three x Eight = 24

Forty Six x Eight = 368

Nine x Forty Four = 396

Words produced by the same combination of keypresses are often referred to as "textonyms". This was the method coded messages were sent in the Sam Bourne novel "The Righteous Men".

The Righteous Men is also available as an audio book.

Alternative Answers

663 + 3483 = 4146

84733 x 34448 = 2918882384

36789749 x 34448 = 1267333273552

6463 x 367893687 = 2377696899081

Mr.Whiitick, Castnf Primary

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Wow my Maths set of Year 5s really got stuck. Good Maths starter but hard!"

Year 8, MSJ

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Really good, clever idea. some students found the concept hard."

6S, Cambridge Primary

Monday, March 1, 2010

"Once we'd got the idea of it, we found this cool!! Our teacher helped us a bit!"

Tom Nick, Wellington College

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"EPIC Puzzle. Very fun."

Bob Casel, Mount Cook School

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Logicly Speaking the 3 can be a 4 making this into a maths paradox
but on the other hand decimly it will be a 3 being a 4x4=16."

5th Class, Cloghroe National School, Co. Cork, Ireland

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"This was good fun, but quite difficult. It took a quarter of an hour for most of the class to get the answer. It was well worth doing."

P6/7 St Elizabeth,

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Fantastic! P6/7 loved the problem and once we understood the concept we found it really easy!"


Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Just wondering for how many more years will this starter be relevant. The photograph is an old phone and the newer phones don’t require predictive text as they provide a full keyboard. The comments above suggest that you like this starter but happy to replace it with something more up to date if you think pupils won’t relate to this."

Y5, Willen

Monday, February 27, 2017

"We got half if it but now we are stuck - where are the answers?

[Transum: Keep trying Year 5. There answers are available to teachers and appear lower down this page when the teacher is signed in.]"

Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for those learning Mathematics anywhere in the world. Click here to enter your comments.

Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more... #ad

How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

What more could the inquisitive adult want for Christmas? This book makes a cosy, interesting read in front of the fire on those cold winter evenings. more... #ad

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 Christmas present but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more... #ad

Apple iPad Pro

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.

The redesigned Retina display is as stunning to look at as it is to touch. It all comes with iOS, the world's most advanced mobile operating system. iPad Pro. Everything you want modern computing to be. more... #ad

Before giving an iPad as a Christmas gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

Craig Barton's Tips for Teachers

Teaching is complex. But there are simple ideas we can enact to help our teaching be more effective. This book contains over 400 such ideas." more... #ad

"The ideas come from two sources. First, from the wonderful guests on his Tips for Teachers podcast - education heavyweights such as Dylan Wiliam, Daisy Christodoulou and Tom Sherrington, as well as talented teachers who are not household names but have so much wisdom to share. Then there's what he has learned from working with amazing teachers and students in hundreds of schools around the world.

Another Craig Barton Book

The Story Of Maths [DVD]

The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

Marcus du Sautoy's wonderful programmes make a perfect Christmas gift more... #ad

Christmas Maths

This book provides a wealth of fun activities with a Christmas theme. Each photocopiable worksheet is matched to the Numeracy Strategy and compatible with the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines. This series is designed for busy teachers in the late Autumn term who are desperate for materials that are relevant and interesting and that can be completed with minimun supervision.

All the activities are suitable for use by class teachers, supply teachers, SEN teachers and classroom assistants and cover topics such as 'How many partridges did the true love give all together?' and 'Filling a sleigh with presents by rolling a dice!'. Children will have lots of fun working through the Christmas Maths themes but also gain valuable skills along the way.

A great source of ideas and another reasonably priced stocking filler. more... #ad

A Compendium Of 	Mathematical Methods

A Compendium Of Mathematical Methods

How many different methods do you know to solve simultaneous equations? To multiply decimals? To find the nth term of a sequence?

A Compendium of Mathematical Methods brings together over one hundred different approaches from classrooms all over the world, giving curious mathematicians the opportunity to explore fascinating methods that they've never before encountered.

If you teach mathematics to any age group in any country, you are guaranteed to learn lots of new things from this delightful book. It will deepen your subject knowledge and enhance your teaching, whatever your existing level of expertise. It will inspire you to explore new approaches with your pupils and provide valuable guidance on explanations and misconceptions. more... #ad

Math with Bad Drawings

I had been tutoring the wonderful Betsy for five years. When the day came for our last ever session together before the end of her Year 13, I received this beautiful book as a gift of appreciation.

This a very readable book by Ben Orlin. I'm really enjoying the humour in the writing and the drawings are great.

Ben Orlin answers maths' three big questions: Why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard? The answers come in various forms-cartoons, drawings, jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that mathematics should belong to everyone. more... #ad

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

Maths T-Shirts

Maths T-shirts on Amazon
Maths T-Shirts on Amazon

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Educational Technology on Amazon


Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops?  It would be great to follow up this Starter with an interactive student activity below.

Laptops In Lessons

Here is the URL which will take them to a related activity on code breaking.


Student Activity



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