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
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
Here is your chance to investigate the number 28 using shapes,
cubes ... in fact anything at all.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
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?
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?
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make
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?
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
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.
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?
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral
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?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
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?
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 is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
How many different sets of numbers with at least four members can
you find in the numbers in this box?
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.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Investigate and explain the patterns that you see from recording
just the units digits of numbers in the times tables.
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
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
"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 ...?
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?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
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?
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 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?
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which
seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the
foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
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?
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
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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?