What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
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 is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
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 continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
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?
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.
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
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?
Investigate the different ways these aliens count in this
challenge. You could start by thinking about how each of them would
write our number 7.
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.
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?
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?
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
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.
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
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?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
"Ip dip sky blue! Who's 'it'? It's you!" Where would you position yourself so that you are 'it' if there are two players? Three players ...?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
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?
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.
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
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.
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?
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
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
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
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?
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.
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?
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?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Investigate and explain the patterns that you see from recording
just the units digits of numbers in the times tables.
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st,
2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice
about the answers?
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?