Magic Square
This activity includes detailed plans (including objectives and ideas for extension work) for three lessons about magic squares. The key resource is an interactive spreadsheet which allows pupils to investigate magic squares.

Year 8 Objectives covered:
  • Use simple formulae from mathematics and other subjects; substitute positive integers into simple linear expressions and formulae and, in simple cases, derive a formula
  • Use logical argument to establish the truth of a statement; give solutions to an appropriate degree of accuracy in the context of the problem
  • Present and interpret solutions in the context of the original problem; explain and justify methods and conclusions, orally and in writing
  • Use letter symbols to represent unknown numbers or variables; know the meanings of the words term, expression and equation
  • Understand that algebraic operations follow the same conventions and order as arithmetic operations
The lessons in this resource encourage your pupils to explore the structure of a simple magic square, with use of formulae to produce totals of rows, columns and diagonals. The interactive spreadsheet allows pupils to quickly experiment with different numbers and so develop strategies for finding a correct solution. Pupils are challenged to use templates to invent new magic squares with different ‘magic numbers’. In doing this, they discuss the generic properties of 3 by 3 magic squares.

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