Two trains are travelling along the same stretch of single line track towards each other. Each train consists of a locomotive and two carriages. There is however a siding that can take one locomotive and one carriage. How is it possible for the two trains to pass each other by using this siding?

## A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day

• Transum,
•
• This make a change! Quite a different Starter Of The Day requiring logic, sequencing and lateral thinking (not necessarily in that order!). We envisage pupils working on this puzzle at their desks using items from their pencil cases to represent the locomotives and carriages. They will need to devise a system of recording their solution so that they don’t forget it and can explain it to others.

If one objective of the Starter Of The Day is to engage pupils right from the very beginning of the lesson we hope this puzzle will fit the bill. It is one or many shunting problems that have proved popular with problem solvers for many years. These challenges are also known as railway shunting puzzles or railroad switching puzzles.

Don’t forget to show the Flash animation of our solution further down the page.
• Jason, Louisville
•
• Where do I find the solution?

[Transum: The answers are below but you need to be signed in to your Transum account to see them. You can sign up for an account here.]
• Mrs Roberts, Sydney, Australia
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• This looks awesome.
• Somerton Primary,
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• Thank you Transum - for taking our maths lesson in a completely different direction. What an amazing problem solving session. The buzz was fantastic in class.

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.

Previous Day | This starter is for 9 January | Next Day

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 Teacher, do your students have access to computers?Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons? Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Transum.org/go/?Start=January9

Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.

Transum.org/go/?to=shunting

## Classic Shunting Puzzles

If you have scrolled this far down the page you may well be interested in our collection of Classic Shunting Puzzles which are fascinating, enjoyable and adictive!

Teacher: If you have young children of your own borrow their toy trains and use these printable train tracks for a real hands-on experience (small plastic trees not included).

For Students:

For All: