How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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 many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we
asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds
so find out which we might have bought.
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to
another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number
and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
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?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
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?
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?
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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?
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular
fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
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 ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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.
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?
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
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles
using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What
other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways that this can be done?
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?
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
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and
multiply them together. How many different products can you find?
How do you know you've got them all?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
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!
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
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.
Place this "worm" on the 100 square and find the total of the four
squares it covers. Keeping its head in the same place, what other
totals can you make?
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
Three children are going to buy some plants for their birthdays. They will plant them within circular paths. How could they do this?