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?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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.
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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
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!
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.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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.
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are
you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of
sticks that make the most triangles?
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?
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?
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles
using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What
other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?
How many different sets of numbers with at least four members can
you find in the numbers in this box?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
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 the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
There are ten children in Becky's group. Can you find a set of
numbers for each of them? Are there any other sets?
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?
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?
Place this "worm" on the 100 square and find the total of the four
squares it covers. Keeping its head in the same place, what other
totals can you make?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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 triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
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?
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?
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?
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?
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we
asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds
so find out which we might have bought.
Sort the houses in my street into different groups. Can you do it in any other ways?
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?
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
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?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.