This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the
total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can
you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?
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
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.
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different 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?
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
There are ten children in Becky's group. Can you find a set of
numbers for each of them? Are there any other sets?
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?
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.
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral
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?
Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number
system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a
look at the multiplications table.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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.
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?
In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st,
2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice
about the answers?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
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
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
"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 ...?
If I use 12 green tiles to represent my lawn, how many different
ways could I arrange them? How many border tiles would I need each
How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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?
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?