How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
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 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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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 many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
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?
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.
In this investigation, you must try to make houses using cubes. If
the base must not spill over 4 squares and you have 7 cubes which
stand for 7 rooms, what different designs can you come up with?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
Three children are going to buy some plants for their birthdays. They will plant them within circular paths. How could they do this?
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and
multiply them together. How many different products can you find?
How do you know you've got them all?
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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Place this "worm" on the 100 square and find the total of the four
squares it covers. Keeping its head in the same place, what other
totals can you make?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
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.
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 number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
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!
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?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
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?
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?
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?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?