When written as a word or words, what is the smallest positive whole number containing the
letter 'a'?
Topics: Starter  Vocabulary
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 3.1 out of 5 based on 342 votes.
Previous Day  This starter is for 7 October  Next Day
Idea for Teacher: Another way to present this idea is to challenge pupils to write down in one minute as many words as possible that do not contain the letter A . You can easily win this competition by writing down one, two, three, four etc which is much easier to do!
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 CalculatorThis 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. TINspire 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 TINspire, 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 Alevel candidate then works their way through university. more... 
Apple iPad ProThe 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.
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=October7
Here is the URL which will take them to a related activity.
What is the largest number that has only one syllable?
When written as a word or words, what is the smallest positive whole number containing all of the vowels?
When written as a word or words, what is the only prime number that does not contain the letter 'e'?
When written as a word or words, what is the largest positive whole number that does not contain the letter 'o'?
When written as a word or words, what is the largest positive whole number that does not contain the letter 'i'?
The solutions to this and other Transum puzzles, exercises and activities are available here when you are signed in to your Transum subscription account. If you do not yet have an account and you are a teacher, tutor or parent you can apply for one here.
If you enjoyed this type of number puzzle you might like to look at the June 2016 Transum Newsletter which featured a similar challenge as the puzzle of the month.