Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
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
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
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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.
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 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?
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?
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 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?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
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?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
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?
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?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
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
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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?
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?
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!
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?
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?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s, 3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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.
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
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?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant numbers?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?