What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
Explore one of these five pictures.
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
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
These pictures were made by starting with a square, finding the half-way point on each side and joining those points up. You could investigate your own starting shape.
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
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?
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
Place four pebbles on the sand in the form of a square. Keep adding as few pebbles as necessary to double the area. How many extra pebbles are added each time?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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?
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?
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
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?
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?
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
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s, 3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
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 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?
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?
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?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
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?
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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!