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
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
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?
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?
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?
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.
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
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?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
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?
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 ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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!
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how
many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
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?
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
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
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?
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
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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?
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
Three children are going to buy some plants for their birthdays. They will plant them within circular paths. How could they do this?
Investigate and explain the patterns that you see from recording
just the units digits of numbers in the times tables.
What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the
result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different
numbers and different rules.
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
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?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why