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. . . .
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 description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
Formulate and investigate a simple mathematical model for the design of a table mat.
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.
Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.
Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calculate various quantities in biological contexts.
What shapes should Elly cut out to make a witch's hat? How can she make a taller hat?
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. . . .
Explore one of these five pictures.
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?
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?
In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an
initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other
What can you say about the child who will be first on the playground tomorrow morning at breaktime in your school?
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?
In this investigation, we look at Pascal's Triangle in a slightly different way - rotated and with the top line of ones taken off.
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?
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?
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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 tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
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?
Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds.
What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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!
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
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?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
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?
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 article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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.
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?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.