Plus Advent Calendar Door #1: Feeding the meter

Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes and parking fees. But even a menacing parking meter is an excuse to do some maths.


Imagine, for example, that the car park costs £1.50. The machine only accepts 10p and 20p coins. There are obviously different ways of putting the money into the car park machine, for example

10p, 10p, 20p, 20p, 10p, 10p, 10p, 10p, 20p, 10p, 10p, 10p


10p, 10p, 10p, 10p, 20p, 20p, 20p, 10p, 20p, 20p.

You could probably go for the rest of the month without feeding the machine in the same way twice. Can you feed the machine in a different way each day of the year?

You can find a longer version of this puzzle, including some follow-up questions to investigate, on the Wild Maths site. Wild Maths encourages students to explore maths beyond the classroom and is designed to nurture mathematical creativity. The site is aimed at 7 to 16 year-olds, but open to all. It provides games, investigations, stories and spaces to explore, where discoveries are to be made. Some have starting points, some a big question and others offer you a free space to investigate.

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