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?
Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
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
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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.
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
Explore one of these five pictures.
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?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
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?
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
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
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
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.
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
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?
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!
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
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?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?