What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
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.
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
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?
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
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
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?
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?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
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.
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?
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.
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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
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?
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?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
Explore one of these five pictures.
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.
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
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 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?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?