Channel 4 Learning

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info for oldies

We are confident that the PUZZLE MATHS WEBSITE can be enjoyed purely for entertainment and self achievement. However, all the games have been built to keep within and complement the National Numeracy Framework, so parents and teachers can rest assured that the content is created and monitored by a reliable source.

The Puzzles are structured at different levels so that although they are accessible right from Primary learning at Key Stage Two they will also be attractive to players with a much greater understanding and higher education of maths. All players will be able to a find level that suits them in each game. It is up to each individual as to how far they want take the challenge.

The Website will endeavour to:

  • Generate excitement and enthusiasm
  • Motivate pupils to get involved in doing mathematics for themselves
  • Train pupils in different strategies for tackling problems
  • Help pupils grasp new concepts
  • Give pupils the practice necessary to reinforce existing skills

The PUZZLE MATHS WEBSITE features seven puzzles and the following areas are covered:

  • Number
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Reason
  • Shape and Space


This game uses the four operations: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Players are given a target number (1-digit or 2-digit), and a set of four digits with which to try and match the target exactly. Each of the four digits can only be used once, together with a selection of operations (+, -, x, /), depending on the level of play.

Learning outcomes:

  • recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts
  • using combinations of two or more operations


This game involves practising the recall of multiplication and division facts.

The game uses a machine which operates on a number fed into it. The machine can multiply or divide by given numbers. The player is given details of the machine, and has to predict the number which will be fed out of the machine.

Learning outcomes:

  • recall of multiplition facts up to 10 x 10
  • recall of division facts corresponding to multiplication facts up to 10 x 10
  • deriving multiplication and division facts linked to known facts, e.g. 7 x 30


This game requires the player to understand the size of a number relative to others.

Players are presented with a blank number line, with the 'end-points' labelled. They are given a number, and required to deduce the approximate position of the number along the line by positioning a pointer. They are given three chances to place it correctly, and clues to help at each stage. Points are scored based on the accuracy of their positioning of the pointer.

Learning outcomes:

  • locationg a position on a number line
  • reading scales
  • understanding decimal notation


This game introduces the concept of an equation using numbers and different operations.

This game is based on the word game 'Hangman', but using digits and operations. Players are presented with a blank equation - blank but for the operations and one number clue. They must try and complete the blanks through deducing or guessing missing digits (0 - 9). Each correct guess results in a blank being filled, but an incorrect guess results in one of the four ropes holding down a catapult being severed. So, players try to successfully complete the equation before losing four lives.

Learning outcomes:

  • solving missing number problems
  • recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts
  • using combinations of two or more operations
  • making strategic deductions based on previous knowledge


This is an Ordering game

Players have a ladder with a number of rungs and spaces on it. A set of nine numbers are randomly generated and placed in position on a 3 x 3 grid. If the ladder has three spaces, then three of these numbers will be selected, one at a time. After each number is selected, players must place it in one of their spaces on the ladder. The object is to try to finish with all the selected numbers in order on the ladder, smallest to largest.

Learning outcomes:

  • Ordering a set of numbers up to 100
  • recognising the relative size of a number in relation to a set of numbers


This is a game relating to addition and subtraction.

Players are given a specific sum of money to spend. Sets of items are presented along with their prices and players have to select as many items as they can without exceeding their limit. Points are awarded for the most amount of items purchased with the least amount of change.

Learning Outcomes:

  • mentally adding amounts of money
  • calculating change by subtracting the total cost from the allotted sum


This comes under the category Shape and Space.

This is a tangram activity, i.e. one based on dissecting a shape into pieces, and using the pieces to create other shapes. For example: A square is dissected into five pieces: a square, a parallelogram and three triangles. The activities challenge the players to arrange sets of shapes to fill another outlined shape. Agraphic visualisation to illustrate the correct arrangement is presented.

Learning outcomes:

  • recognising and naming common 2-D shapes
  • arranging two or more shapes to create a given shape
  • mentally transforming the position of shapes