Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Ana and Ross looked in a trunk in the attic. They found old cloaks
and gowns, hats and masks. How many possible costumes could they
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which
seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the
foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort
them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we
arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence
to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of
the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other
shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that
they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can
you investigate all the different possibilities?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
The red ring is inside the blue ring in this picture. Can you rearrange the rings in different ways? Perhaps you can overlap them or put one outside another?
Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create your own repeating pattern?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the
outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you
find for me to take?
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many
different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and
the 2 must not touch the table?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
In my local town there are three supermarkets which each has a
special deal on some products. If you bought all your shopping in
one shop, where would be the cheapest?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4
units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different
cuboids can you make?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s, 3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
These pictures were made by starting with a square, finding the half-way point on each side and joining those points up. You could investigate your own starting shape.
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
Take a look at these data collected by children in 1986 as part of the Domesday Project. What do they tell you? What do you think about the way they are presented?
This challenge asks you to investigate the total number of cards that would be sent if four children send one to all three others. How many would be sent if there were five children? Six?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
"Ip dip sky blue! Who's 'it'? It's you!" Where would you position yourself so that you are 'it' if there are two players? Three players ...?
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
Is there a best way to stack cans? What do different supermarkets
do? How high can you safely stack the cans?
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
This activity asks you to collect information about the birds you
see in the garden. Are there patterns in the data or do the birds
seem to visit randomly?
Investigate the numbers that come up on a die as you roll it in the
direction of north, south, east and west, without going over the
path it's already made.