In late 2018, Daniel Griller‘s second book, Problem solving in GCSE mathematics was released. I was a big fan of his first book, Elastic numbers, so I was keen to have a go at the puzzles in the sequel.
This book, however, is not like Elastic numbers, but it is instead a workbook containing a collection of problems aimed at GCSE students targeting the top grades. If I had bought this book expecting Elastic numbers 2, I would have been very disappointed. Luckily, the title of this book—Problem solving in GCSE mathematics—tells you exactly what to expect so I was not disappointed.
Problem solving in GCSE mathematics contains 75 questions aimed at students at GCSE level, and is written like a workbook, giving space for students to answer each question, and contains worked solutions for each question. As you might expect from a puzzle writer like Daniel Griller, the questions often present unfamiliar and unusual situations in which familiar bits of GCSE maths can be used. It was questions like these that I found the most enjoyable to solve. Here are a couple of my favourites.
Alice is thinking of a positive integer N. The lowest common multiple of N and 45 is 90. Find all possible values of N.
For the second puzzle in particular, it took me a while to realise that I even knew how to solve it. The book contains many puzzles like this that will get even the highest achieving GCSE students to think about what they know in a different way.
If you are a GCSE student looking to achieve a top grade, or a teacher or parent looking for questions students like this, I would highly recommend this book. If you’re looking for some fun puzzles to do on a Sunday afternoon, this book isn’t really aimed at you: find a student to buy this for and buy Elastic numbers for yourself.
More from Chalkdust
Prize crossnumber, Issue 16Can you solve it?
Cryptic crossword, Issue 16Can you solve it?
Crossnumber winners, Issue 15Did you solve it?
My favourite LaTeX packageThe Chalkdust editors share some of their favourites
On the cover: cellular automataDiscover the meaning of the coloured squares on the cover of issue 13
Oπnions: Should I share my code?Scroggs debates whether sharing truly is caring
Pingback: Cube Roots Problem | Meditations on Mathematics