Two Twins and Tim

Where should the five friends meet to minimise the total walking distance?

Tim is represented by the circle marked 1

Each of the circles marked 2 represents a pair of twins.

They can only walk along the grid lines.

Choose a meeting point. Calculate the distance all five people will have to walk added together to get there. Is that the best place to meet?

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


Topics: Starter | Coordinates | Problem Solving | Puzzles

  • Transum,
  • This is more of a substantial thinking task isn't it? While younger pupils might make a sensible guess (with justification) more advanced students of mathematics might come up with an algorithm for finding that optimal meeting point. Remember that the positions of Tim and the twins changes each time you refresh the page so there is ample opportunity to test those algorithms.

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.
Click here to enter your comments.

If you don't have the time to provide feedback we'd really appreciate it if you could give this page a score! We are constantly improving and adding to these starters so it would be really helpful to know which ones are most useful. Simply click on a button below:

Excellent, I would like to see more like this
Good, achieved the results I required
Didn't really capture the interest of the students
Not for me! I wouldn't use this type of activity.

Previous Day | This starter is for 21 July | Next Day




Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.

There is a printable worksheet that extends this activity.


Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon search box and some items chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics to get you started.

Puzzle Master Banner
Numbers and the Making of Us

Numbers and the Making of Us

I initially heard this book described on the Grammar Girl podcast and immediately went to find out more about it. I now have it on my Christmas present wish list and am looking forward to receiving a copy (hint!).

"Caleb Everett provides a fascinating account of the development of human numeracy, from innate abilities to the complexities of agricultural and trading societies, all viewed against the general background of human cultural evolution. He successfully draws together insights from linguistics, cognitive psychology, anthropology, and archaeology in a way that is accessible to the general reader as well as to specialists." more...

Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

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).

Laptops In Lessons

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.

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

Student Activity



©1997-2019 WWW.TRANSUM.ORG