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Simple Sums Puzzle

Check out this simple sums puzzle if you are looking for a fun opening activity or a brain break. Insert any of the following signs (add, subtract, multiply, divide, or parentheses) between any numbers on the left of the equations to make them correct. You may join numbers on the left together if you wish: e.g., 3 6 may become 36.

Simple Sums Puzzle

I ran across this simple sums puzzle in the RadioTimes Brainbox Puzzle Book 2 by Clive Doig.

Simple Sums Puzzle

I typed up the directions on a single sheet of paper. Then, I typed up the three equations on another sheet. I printed it on colored paper and then cut it apart into three separate strips.

Simple Sums Puzzle

I put magnets on the back of the equation strips, but you easily tape them up or staple them up based on how/where you were posting the puzzle.

Simple Sums Puzzle

Free Download of Simple Sums Puzzle

Simple Sums Puzzle (PDF) (3102 downloads )

Simple Sums Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (973 downloads )

simple sums puzzle

Want even more puzzles for your classroom? Check out my puzzles page!

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not make answers to the printable math puzzles I share on my blog available online because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are non-google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.

However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.

If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.


Tuesday 9th of November 2021

Sarah Carter, I love your puzzles. The more I struggle to solve them, the more fun! Lol. When I was a little girl, math was my favorite class, and Algebra was so much fun! Anyway, this puzzle was tough until I figured how to solve it. Thank you for sharing these puzzles with all of us. Diane

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