A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
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?
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to
another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number
and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
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.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we
asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds
so find out which we might have bought.
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
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?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular
fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
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?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a
go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from
interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the
models together then compare your constructions.
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?
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?
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
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?
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?
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
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?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
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?
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
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
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
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?