Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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 largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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.
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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?
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.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral
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?
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
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?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
"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 ...?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s, 3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
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?
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
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.
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
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 ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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?
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?
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
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
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?
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
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.
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
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Roll two red dice and a green dice. Add the two numbers on the red dice and take away the number on the green. What are all the different possibilities that could come up?
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.
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?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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!
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.
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.