In this investigation, we look at Pascal's Triangle in a slightly different way - rotated and with the top line of ones taken off.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Take ten sticks in heaps any way you like. Make a new heap using one from each of the heaps. By repeating that process could the arrangement 7 - 1 - 1 - 1 ever turn up, except by starting with it?
Explore one of these five pictures.
This article (the first of two) contains ideas for investigations.
Space-time, the curvature of space and topology are introduced with
some fascinating problems to explore.
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calculate various quantities in biological contexts.
Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
Complete these two jigsaws then put one on top of the other. What
happens when you add the 'touching' numbers? What happens when you
change the position of the jigsaws?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
Investigate and explain the patterns that you see from recording
just the units digits of numbers in the times tables.
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they
usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many
altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
In this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone
numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a
sequence adding 2 each time?
We think this 3x3 version of the game is often harder than the 5x5 version. Do you agree? If so, why do you think that might be?
There are three tables in a room with blocks of chocolate on each. Where would be the best place for each child in the class to sit if they came in one at a time?
All types of mathematical problems serve a useful purpose in
mathematics teaching, but different types of problem will achieve
different learning objectives. In generalmore open-ended problems
have. . . .
A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
Write the numbers up to 64 in an interesting way so that the shape they make at the end is interesting, different, more exciting ... than just a square.
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.
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?
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a
go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
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.
Which times on a digital clock have a line of symmetry? Which look
the same upside-down? You might like to try this investigation and
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an
initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other
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!
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How
about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you
can predict what will happen.
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?
Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number
system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a
look at the multiplications table.
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?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
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?
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
The letters of the word ABACUS have been arranged in the shape of a
triangle. How many different ways can you find to read the word
ABACUS from this triangular pattern?
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?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16
pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these
pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
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?
Investigate this balance which is marked in halves. If you had a weight on the left-hand 7, where could you hang two weights on the right to make it balance?