Difference Triangle

IWB iPad Tablet teaching resource This puzzle resource is a very difficult challenge and brings up to date this earlier resource (not tablet compatible) so that the same challenge can be worked with on all devices.  It is simple enough to understand.  Swap tiles so that each number in the triangle is the absolute difference between the two numbers below.  The absolute difference is effectively the same as subtracting the smaller number from the larger number, whatever order they appear in.

The bottom numbers will always appear as correct as there are no numbers below to produce them.  Note that the resource tells you when the absolute difference is correct but NOT that the tile is in the correct place to solve the puzzle.

Go to puzzle teaching resource.

Hop Over

IWB iPad Android teaching resource Another IWB, iPad and Android compatible teaching and learning resource for problem and puzzle solving.  Encourage children to think about how to efficiently approach problems and not to give up by setting them this simple to understand puzzle.  The goal is to reverse the order of the counters so that there are 3 purples, then 3 blues and finally the blank space.  Counters can move to an adjacent empty place or hop over one or two other counters to get to it.  The resource will only allow correct moves.  It can be done in 10 moves.  Tapping any counter will move it to the blank space.  Tapping reset will set it all back to the beginning.  First try to solve it in any number of moves and then try to distill this down into the most efficient process.

Compatible with modern browsers on all devices.

Go to puzzle resource.

Magic Circles

iPad Android IWB teaching resourceThis iPad, Android, IWB compatible teaching resource is a variation on this one except it is much easier, perhaps too easy.  This one is from this book, the follow up to the book that the previous resource was in and can be found here.

Simply swap the numbers around until they add up to 14 on each of the big circles.  The problem with this as a problem is that with so few numbers and combinations it is quite solvable by trial and error rather than maths but it may be of use for younger children.  Either way expect a fairly quick solution.

This resource should work on all modern browsers on computer, tablet and phone.

Go to learning resource.

Sum Squares

IWB iPad Puzzle Resource This resource was inspired by the Puzzle of the Month in the always informative newsletter by Andrew Jeffrey, also on twitter as @AJMagicMessage.  The challenge is to arrange the numbers 1 to 15 so that each adjacent pair, when added together, result in a square number.  This puzzle is particularly nice in that it doesn’t need a high level of maths knowledge to engage with.  Simple adding and identifying square numbers is all that is needed.  Even this latter requirement is quite easy as there are very few square numbers that these numbers can result in.  Despite this ease of engagement it will still provoke in depth thinking.

The puzzle is easily played using counters or sticky notes but to alleviate the danger of rogue gust of wind or sneezes this resource lets it be played or demonstrated on computer or tablet, either iPad or Android.  This also makes it a nice homework puzzle to set.

Tapping the circles lets them switch places and their sums are automatically calculated in the squares above them.  When a new square number is made a little burst of ticker tape confirms it.  When all 14 are correct you’ll know!

For the solution you’ll need to see Andrew Jeffrey’s newsletter next month.  If you miss that you’ll need to solve it yourself!

Go to Puzzle Resource

Note that you will need a modern browser to run this resource on your PC.  IE10 or the latest version of Chrome or FireFox are recommended.  On Android you should use Chrome not the basic Android Browser.


Card Frame

Card Frame iPad IWB teaching resource

This resources brings a popular old resource up to date.  As well as being smartened up this resource is compatible with iPads and other tablets as well as PCs.  In essence it is the same as the older resource and is made to accompany a puzzle published in an old book by Henry Ernest Dudeney.  The puzzle is a useful one for teaching deeper mathematical thinking because while it can be solved by trial and error, thinking about the maths behind it can make it much easier.

The goal is to choose a number that all 4 sides of the frame can add up to and arrange the cards to do this.  Some numbers are possible some numbers are not.  This puzzle has been selected as it allows students of all abilities to have a go as the maths involved is not difficult.  The challenge should be to find a method of determining what numbers can be used as the common total amount, and then how to make finding the layout much easier.  The resource provided here allows the puzzle to be demonstrated easily and can also allow whole class discussion of how to approach the problem.  Clicking on one card and then another causes them to swap places.  The resource totals the different lines automatically.  Tapping the chalkboard brings up brief instructions.

If you would like the solution and teaching notes to this puzzle please contact me on twitter as this makes it much easier to see if it is a teacher or a child cheating on homework!  If you don’t use twitter leave a request in the comments but this will take longer to receive a response.

This resource does not work with Internet Explorer 9.  On Windows please upgrade to IE 10 or use Chrome or Firefox. Or use the original version of this resource linked to above.

Go to teaching resource.

HTML5 performance is still not quite there yet so on some devices this resource may lag slightly.


Soma Introduction

Soma Cube Intro

This interactive whiteboard resource forms the first part of a themed series of resources that support the use of a Soma Cube in teaching.  If you know about the Soma Cube then this resource is useful for showing a class the basic pieces and some of the shapes that can be made from them. Choose either shapes that can be made from a set of Soma pieces or the individual peices themselves and scroll through them using the arrows at the bottom of the screen.

Depending on your screen resolution you may need to set your browser to full screen. On IE press F11.

If you would like to know more about using the Soma Cube for problem solving lessons or developing spatial reasoning please see the supporting article on the new site designed to support the resources here.  A number of activities and suggestions are made here.  Alternatively the following book includes the original publication by Martin Gardner that brought the puzzle to the masses:The Colossal Book of Mathematics

View this Soma Overview interactive whiteboard resource.

There are two more resources designed to be used in a Soma themed series of lessons and these are:

Soma Bingo

Soma Isometric Drawing

Please feedback on these themed resources with any problems suggestions or ideas in the comments or follow this site on Twitter.

Soma Bingo

Soma IWB Resource

The third interactive whiteboard resource in a series to aid using Soma Cubes in lessons.  This one is to facilitate adding a competitive element to their use.  Break the class into groups and allocate them to  one of four colours red, green, yellow or blue.  Set a goal.  This may be to complete a horizontal line, vertical line or any line.   When a group shows you that they have completed a shape they can capture that square by pressing the appropriate colour on the appropriate box.  That square is then captured for 2 minutes or permanently if you activate that option.  To take take a closer look at a shape click the small picture inside the box. Click the larger picture to close it.  There is far more detail on how to use this resource on the link below.

Go to Soma Bingo Interactive whiteboard Resource.

To learn more about using Soma Cubes in lessons for practising spatial awareness and problem solving skills see this the supporting site to –

View Soma Cube Introduction IWB resource.

Soma Isometric Drawing

Depending on your screen resolution you may need to set your browser to full screen. On IE press F11.

Please feedback on these themed resources with any problems suggestions or ideas in the comments or follow this site on Twitter.