This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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!
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?
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How
about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you
can predict what will happen.
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?
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
There are ten children in Becky's group. Can you find a set of
numbers for each of them? Are there any other sets?
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
"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
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?
Investigate the different shaped bracelets you could make from 18
different spherical beads. How do they compare if you use 24 beads?
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?
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
How many different sets of numbers with at least four members can
you find in the numbers in this box?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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.
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.
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?
Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4
arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or
saucer of the same colour.
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.
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
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?
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
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?
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?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
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
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?
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.
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
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to
ask? Don't forget to keep visiting NRICH projects site for the
latest developments and questions.
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
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?
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why