Maths Puzzles for KS3/KS4

Rob Apperley and Gill Colley

£85FormatHTML resourcePublication dateJul 08ISBN978 1 84070 793 9
  • Ideal to use as starters
  • Suitable for all abilities
  • Encourages discussion

Develop investigative skills

Finding ways to motivate students and to get them to think for themselves can be difficult. The opportunities for analytical thought in KS3 and KS4/GCSE mathematics may be further limited now that coursework is no longer required at GCSE.

Maths Puzzles for KS3/KS4 is designed to help students think laterally and analytically. Ideal for use with students who lack motivation, the resource contains over 80 activities of the following types:

  • Number puzzles
  • Visual puzzles
  • Shape puzzles
  • Tricks with numbers
  • Tricks with words
  • Open-ended puzzles
  • Algorithmic puzzles
  • Riddles
  • Optical illusions.

Flexible use

The activities could be used:

  • as starters or plenaries
  • for group work
  • for whole class discussion
  • as the basis for investigations
  • as exam practice
  • for out-of-school learning
  • for competitions or end-of-term quizzes.

Maths Puzzles for KS3/KS4 is sold with a full site licence, so everyone in your department can benefit. Full teaching notes are included, and the material can readily be used by non-specialist teachers or cover supervisors.

Encourage lateral thinking

Aimed at KS3 and KS4/GCSE students, the activities can be tackled by students of all abilities. Often the path to the solution is not structured or specified; some puzzles have more than one correct answer. The activities can therefore help to:

  • develop dialogue between students and between student and teacher
  • foster analytical thinking
  • create an atmosphere of healthy competition
  • provide a welcome sense of enjoyment.

Even students who are normally disengaged can be readily involved – and even enthused.

Ready-to-use resources

Each activity is:

  • referenced to the 2008 National Curriculum at KS3 and KS4
  • available as a worksheet to print out and distribute to students
  • available as a presentation to display on an interactive whiteboard
  • accompanied by teacher’s notes and answers where appropriate.


  • Introduction
  • Number
  • Fractions, ratio, proportion
  • Algebra
  • Logic
  • Spatial puzzles
  • Trick questions
  • Optical illusions
  • Resources