Three wise guys (Balth, Melch and Gaz) each bought you a gift. The total cost of the gifts was £36. Find as many sets of gifts as possible which add up to £36

£16 £15 £11 £18
£36 £8 £7 £14
£15 £13 £9 £12
£10 £14 £17 £19

Teacher: Collect together students' findings by clicking on the numbers above.

They don't add up to 36

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day

Globe of Flags

This activity is suitable for students of mathematics all around the world. Use the button below to change the currency symbol used to make it more relevant to your students. You may wish to choose an unfamiliar currency to extend your students' experience.

Globe of Flags


Topics: Starter | Arithmetic | Mental Methods | Xmas

You can find many more ChristMaths activities at:


  • Chris Southward, Limehouse School Cumbria
  • Year 7 found four more which you haven't mentioned in your triplets summing to 34 list. 24,3,7 - 24,5,5 - 25,3,6, and 23,7,4
  • Liz Masshedar, Peterlee
  • Just found this site. Already my year 6 pupils are reminding me to find the day's challenge. It is a really good resource to start the maths lesson and give them something to think about. Thanks!
  • A O'Hagan, First year Holyrood Sec Glasgow
  • Cesco and Asim found two more...22,8,4 and 21,8,5. The whole class managed to find all the others.
  • Mrs Humphreys' Maths group, Nevill Road Juniors, Bramhall, Stockport
  • We (year 6) found another 6 triplets that weren't mentioned.
  • Class 5, Speyside
  • We found 10, did yoy find any more?
  • Emma Roach,
  • We got 11 different triplets.
    Did this with bottom set year 8 who loved doing it!
  • P5, Giffnock Primary
  • P5 at Giffnock Primary School found 12 triplets!!
  • Class 2/6, Lauren Cowie
  • This was too easy for us and not very challenging, and not up to the usual standard.
  • Room 2 Maths, Taradale Intermediate
  • We are pretty choice, because we got 13!!
  • Stewart, Direk Schools South Australia
  • Year 6/7 class found 12 combination.
  • 2V, Stromness Academy
  • We got 14!
  • M Ozog, Inverkiething High School
  • 4MA5 found 13
    Well done.
  • Mr M's Nice But Dim Group, Canggu Community School, Bali
  • Zac found 15, but then Zac can't count. We actually found 11 as a whole class, love the starters - keep it up!
  • Miss Nixey, Dartington Primary School
  • Year 5 and 6 at Dartington Primary School found 15 different ways. Well done everyone!
  • 1AFG2, Dyce Academy
  • Dyce Academy got 15 triplets. We are very smart!
  • Mrs Renny, BTJS
  • 5GR at Bishop Tufnell found 14 triplets!
  • Mrs D, Chadsmead Lichfield
  • Chadsmead year 5 got 14!
  • Katie Pasby, Hampton College
  • I found 17 triplets.
  • Mrs Rush, Reepham High
  • 8MAH found 13 and are still looking!
  • Mrs Simpson, Forres Academy
  • Our S1 class got 15 triplets! Enjoyed this challenge.
  • Year 10, Welshpool High School
  • We reckon there is lot more than 17. At least 30!
  • Year 9 Set 3 2011, Welshpool High School, Powys, Wales
  • Kirsty found 16 which we thought was really good. Louis and Alistair found 14.Others ranged down to 3.
  • Mr Morriss Class 7B3, Montgomery High School
  • We spend 5 mins individually and then gathered our answers together and got 16 as a class!!! We really enjoyed this task and got pretty competitive between ourselves and the rest of the Schools that commented on here!!
  • 7b3, Derby High School
  • This is a good puzzle we'd like to see more like this.
  • E Walters, Brigshaw High School
  • We found 18! We are good!

  • Stewart, Lake Windemere
  • Room 17
    Year 6/7 class found 16.
  • Mr Gregory, Lincolnshire
  • We found 13! Mr Gregory reckons there definitely are no more than that (but he did miss one out earlier).
  • Mrs Taylor, North Muirton
  • Our P6 class are awesome, we got 21! we love these challenges.
  • Trevor Lewis, Nortonthorpe Hall School
  • We found 27 and then had to give up for time.
  • 7 BM1, Harlow
  • We found 30 but we ran out of time!
  • Kirsty . I . Brown, Selkirk, Scotish Borders (Selkirk High School)
  • This was a really good acivity and it was fun, I didnt do it at school but I did it at home and it was fun, I have a long list of sums that add up to thirty and it was really good, I would like to see more of this!
  • Matthew, 3D, Craigslea State School
  • For a total of 40, I had these 14:
    1. 27, 7, 6
    2. 21, 11, 8
    3. 15, 14, 11
    4. 24, 10, 6
    5. 22, 11, 7
    6. 24, 9, 7
    7. 26, 8, 6
    8. 23, 9, 8
    9. 25, 8, 7
    10. 21, 10, 9
    11. 22, 10, 8
    12. 27, 8, 7
    13. 23, 10, 7
    14. 24, 9, 7.
  • The 4x4 grid that came up for me comprised of the numbers: 3,6,7,8,9,10,13,14,14,15,15,16,17,18,19 and 32.
    I've found the following 13 triplets that total 32 (without double counting): (as there are two 13s and two 14s in the grid)
    (8,10,14) and
  • P6/7, St Elizabeths
  • We loved this problem and managed to find 26 solutions!
  • S3, Speyside High School
  • We found 13 all together and had good fun too. Thank you!
  • Star Primary,
  • Year 6 at Star Primary got 12! :).
  • Year 6, AAESS
  • We enjoyed this activity and found lots of possible answers.
  • Mrs Robinson, 8 - 3
  • We found 35 Y8 St Bernards.
  • Mrs Anderson, Newark
  • We loved it. Pine Y5 got 46 tripllets! Well Done!
  • Da Vinci, William Martin Junior School
  • One student got 30 possible answers. We enjoyed the activity.
  • Nadeem, England
  • Wow! this is a very good stater of the day. Already my Year 6s have found 29 sums, which Im really proud of! Fantastic!
  • Mr Gray, Buscksburn Maths, Twitter
  • Came up with loads of combinations. Even more when we realised the website let us use the same number twice.
  • Mr Ian Stevenson, Orched Head Primary School
  • Triplets are the best thing I have shown my class.
  • Laura Whittaker, St Mark's
  • We found 27 different ways to make 40!

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 3.3 out of 5 based on 238 votes.

Previous Day | This starter is for 10 December | Next Day



19+8+9 14+10+12 13+11+12
15+10+11 17+9+10 16+9+11
18+8+10 7+14+15  

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.


Texas Instruments Nspire 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...

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...

Before giving an iPad as a Christmas 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 student version of this activity.

Student Activity



©1997-2020 WWW.TRANSUM.ORG