Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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.
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
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?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
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?
Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4 arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or saucer of the same colour.
Explore one of these five pictures.
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled
triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
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?
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How
about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you
can predict what will happen.
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
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
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.
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.
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
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?
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!
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
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they
usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many
altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
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?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
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.
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
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?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
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
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
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?