Wrong Way Round

Ron Gwairown always writes numbers down back to front. At school, he was once asked to do the following calculation:

Ron Gwairown

14 x 82

In his exercise book Ron wrote down:

41 x 28

1. What answer did he get?

2. What answer should he have got?

3. Investigate other pairs of calculations of this type? What can you discover?

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


Topics: Starter | Arithmetic | Investigations | Place Value

  • LRH, MCS Brackley
  • I used this with a top set year 9. We collated our results after about 15 minutes and the students found an explanation using multiplication grids for a general rule linking all the pairs they found. A great success! More like this, please.
  • Y6, Tickhill St Mary's
  • Question 3 gives away the answer to question 2!
  • Mrs Rowe, Edenham High
  • I was warned that it was quite hard. Set for top year 8's lasted the majority of our first lesson of the year.
  • KS3 Form Teacher, West Midlands
  • This starter was very good for engaging a multi-ethnic y7-9 form group - to a certain extent, the older, more knowledgeable kiddies were able to address the queries of the little ones! Can be very suitable for a class whose English is perhaps not the best. A nice way of revising long multiplication for those who need it and an interesting quirk of mathematics for those who don't. Easy 20-ish minutes of class-wide engagement.
  • Jenna Turner, Coorara Primary School
  • Wednesday, September 2, 2020
  • This was a fun starter but I couldn’t figure out the answers. Are there any patterns to which ones work and which ones don’t?

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 295 votes.

Previous Day | This starter is for 6 September | Next Day



Sign in to your Transum subscription account to see the answers

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.


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 a related student activity.


Student Activity



©1997-2020 WWW.TRANSUM.ORG