MatchStick Puzzles – Largest and Smallest Numbers

Matchstick Puzzle largest and Smallest Number

Matchstick puzzles are fun to solve. These puzzles are pretty engaging can be used in many ways to teach the basic concepts of Math. Recently, we used the math concept of place values and integers to solve these puzzles. We had to rearrange the matchsticks to find out the largest and smallest possible number that can be made using a given number. This activity can be extended to allow integers , which means the smallest possible number can be a negative number also. After a couple of trials and errors, my kids were able to solve the puzzle and enjoyed doing it.


Lay out the matchsticks so that they represent the number 5008. By moving only two matchsticks, can you find the largest and smallest possible number which can be made. The numbers can be integers too. In case you don’t have matchsticks, you can use toothpicks or thin pretzel sticks.

MatchstickPuzzle, numberPlaceValue

So, were you able to solve it ? Leave your answer in the comment section.

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2 Replies to “MatchStick Puzzles – Largest and Smallest Numbers”

    1. Hi James, Great thinking. But, I think you meant 51118^11. It would have been the right solution if we were allowed to move as many number of matchsticks but the puzzle asks to move only two matchsticks to find the largest number

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