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?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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
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
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
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?
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?
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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.
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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!
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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?
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
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.
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?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
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 make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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 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.
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?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
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?
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 can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you
move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up
with the same arrangement?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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 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?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
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?
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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?