How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
Place four pebbles on the sand in the form of a square. Keep adding as few pebbles as necessary to double the area. How many extra pebbles are added each time?
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
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 find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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?
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.
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
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
These pictures show squares split into halves. Can you find other ways?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Sort the houses in my street into different groups. Can you do it in any other ways?
What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame
without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you
try the other shapes?
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways that this can be done?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
In this investigation, you must try to make houses using cubes. If
the base must not spill over 4 squares and you have 7 cubes which
stand for 7 rooms, what different designs can you come up with?
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one
layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same
colour are next to each other in any direction?
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?
Many natural systems appear to be in equilibrium until suddenly a critical point is reached, setting up a mudslide or an avalanche or an earthquake. In this project, students will use a simple. . . .
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and
multiply them together. How many different products can you find?
How do you know you've got them all?
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
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5 grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?
Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16
pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these
pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
These caterpillars have 16 parts. What different shapes do they make if each part lies in the small squares of a 4 by 4 square?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant numbers?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Vincent and Tara are making triangles with the class construction set. They have a pile of strips of different lengths. How many different triangles can they make?
Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create your own repeating pattern?
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
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?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
In this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone
numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a
sequence adding 2 each time?
Is there a best way to stack cans? What do different supermarkets
do? How high can you safely stack the cans?
All types of mathematical problems serve a useful purpose in
mathematics teaching, but different types of problem will achieve
different learning objectives. In generalmore open-ended problems
have. . . .
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.