What can you say about the child who will be first on the playground tomorrow morning at breaktime in your school?
What statements can you make about the car that passes the school
gates at 11am on Monday? How will you come up with statements and
test your ideas?
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?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
In this investigation, we look at Pascal's Triangle in a slightly different way - rotated and with the top line of ones taken off.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
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.
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?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
Roll two red dice and a green dice. Add the two numbers on the red dice and take away the number on the green. What are all the different possibilities that could come up?
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. . . .
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?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Sort the houses in my street into different groups. Can you do it in any other ways?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an
initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Is there a best way to stack cans? What do different supermarkets
do? How high can you safely stack the cans?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
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?
All types of mathematical problems serve a useful purpose in
mathematics teaching, but different types of problem will achieve
different learning objectives. In generalmore open-ended problems
have. . . .
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make
Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create your own repeating pattern?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different 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?
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!
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?
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 continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Here is your chance to investigate the number 28 using shapes,
cubes ... in fact anything at all.
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a
go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.