What statements can you make about the car that passes the school
gates at 11am on Monday? How will you come up with statements and
test your ideas?
What can you say about the child who will be first on the playground tomorrow morning at breaktime in your school?
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 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?
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?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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 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!
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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 area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
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
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
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.
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 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?
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?
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 ...?
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?
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.
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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 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.
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.