A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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
Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
Explore one of these five pictures.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
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?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
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?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
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?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
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?
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
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
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.
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
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
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
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?
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?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
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?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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!
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.