If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the
result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different
numbers and different rules.
In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st,
2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice
about the answers?
Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the
total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can
you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number
system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a
look at the multiplications table.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
"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 ...?
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!
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
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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.
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?
There are to be 6 homes built on a new development site. They could
be semi-detached, detached or terraced houses. How many different
combinations of these can you find?
Investigate this balance which is marked in halves. If you had a weight on the left-hand 7, where could you hang two weights on the right to make it balance?
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?
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they
usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many
altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
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
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 design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
How many different sets of numbers with at least four members can
you find in the numbers in this box?
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?
Which times on a digital clock have a line of symmetry? Which look
the same upside-down? You might like to try this investigation and
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
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?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
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 continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make
If I use 12 green tiles to represent my lawn, how many different
ways could I arrange them? How many border tiles would I need each
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
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.
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
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?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral