Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
There are three tables in a room with blocks of chocolate on each. Where would be the best place for each child in the class to sit if they came in one at a time?
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calculate various quantities in biological contexts.
The letters of the word ABACUS have been arranged in the shape of a
triangle. How many different ways can you find to read the word
ABACUS from this triangular pattern?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
In this investigation, we look at Pascal's Triangle in a slightly different way - rotated and with the top line of ones taken off.
Explore one of these five pictures.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
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 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?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from
interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the
models together then compare your constructions.
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?
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
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
This article (the first of two) contains ideas for investigations.
Space-time, the curvature of space and topology are introduced with
some fascinating problems to explore.
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?
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular
fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a
go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
Take ten sticks in heaps any way you like. Make a new heap using one from each of the heaps. By repeating that process could the arrangement 7 - 1 - 1 - 1 ever turn up, except by starting with it?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
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?
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 create more models that follow these rules?
All types of mathematical problems serve a useful purpose in
mathematics teaching, but different types of problem will achieve
different learning objectives. In generalmore open-ended problems
have. . . .
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?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
Many natural systems appear to be in equilibrium until suddenly a critical point is reached, setting up a mudslide or an avalanche or an earthquake. In this project, students will use a simple. . . .
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an
initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other
We think this 3x3 version of the game is often harder than the 5x5 version. Do you agree? If so, why do you think that might be?
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
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.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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 this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone
numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a
sequence adding 2 each time?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?