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
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Follow the directions for circling numbers in the matrix. Add all
the circled numbers together. Note your answer. Try again with a
different starting number. What do you notice?
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
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?
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?
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?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
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 tiles do we need to tile these patios?
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?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make
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. . . .
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 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.
Investigate the different ways these aliens count in this
challenge. You could start by thinking about how each of them would
write our number 7.
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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.
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
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.
Explore one of these five pictures.
Here is your chance to investigate the number 28 using shapes,
cubes ... in fact anything at all.
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
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?
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?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
"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 ...?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled
triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
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