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Take Ten Sticks

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Odd Stones

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

On a "move" a stone is removed from two of the circles and placed in the third circle. Here are five of the ways that 27 stones could be distributed.

The Invertible Trefoil

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

When is a knot invertible ?

Snookered

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

In a snooker game the brown ball was on the lip of the pocket but it could not be hit directly as the black ball was in the way. How could it be potted by playing the white ball off a cushion?

There's Always One Isn't There

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Take any pair of numbers, say 9 and 14. Take the larger number, fourteen, and count up in 14s. Then divide each of those values by the 9, and look at the remainders.

Peeling the Apple or the Cone That Lost Its Head

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

How much peel does an apple have?

Few and Far Between?

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Can you find some Pythagorean Triples where the two smaller numbers differ by 1?

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Some of our more advanced investigations

Chance of That

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

What's the chance of a pair of lists of numbers having sample correlation exactly equal to zero?

9 Hole Light Golf

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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?

Global Warming

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

How much energy has gone into warming the planet?

Big and Small Numbers in Chemistry

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Get some practice using big and small numbers in chemistry.

A Rational Search

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Investigate constructible images which contain rational areas.

Track Design

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Where should runners start the 200m race so that they have all run the same distance by the finish?

Big and Small Numbers in the Physical World

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calculate various quantities in physical contexts.

Big and Small Numbers in the Living World

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calculate various quantities in biological contexts.

Big and Small Numbers in Physics

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Work out the numerical values for these physical quantities.

Trig-trig

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Explore the properties of combinations of trig functions in this open investigation.

Two Regular Polygons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Two polygons fit together so that the exterior angle at each end of their shared side is 81 degrees. If both shapes now have to be regular could the angle still be 81 degrees?

Eight Ratios

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Two perpendicular lines lie across each other and the end points are joined to form a quadrilateral. Eight ratios are defined, three are given but five need to be found.

Geometry and Gravity 1

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

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.

Twizzles Venture Forth

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Where we follow twizzles to places that no number has been before.

Problem Solving: Opening up Problems

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4

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. . . .

Perfect Eclipse

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Use trigonometry to determine whether solar eclipses on earth can be perfect.

Chocolate

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Bent Out of Shape

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

An introduction to bond angle geometry.

Crossing the Town Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.

Counting on Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

The Power of Dimensional Analysis

Stage: 4 and 5

An introduction to a useful tool to check the validity of an equation.

Squareo'scope Determines the Kind of Triangle

Stage: 3

A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.

Alternative Record Book

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

In which Olympic event does a human travel fastest? Decide which events to include in your Alternative Record Book.

It's Times Again

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Numbers arranged in a square but some exceptional spatial awareness probably needed.

Steps to the Podium

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!

Designing Table Mats

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Formulate and investigate a simple mathematical model for the design of a table mat.

Tiling Into Slanted Rectangles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.

Investigating Pascal's Triangle

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

In this investigation, we look at Pascal's Triangle in a slightly different way - rotated and with the top line of ones taken off.

Robot Camera

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Could nanotechnology be used to see if an artery is blocked? Or is this just science fiction?

Carbon Footprints

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Is it really greener to go on the bus, or to buy local?

Witch's Hat

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

What shapes should Elly cut out to make a witch's hat? How can she make a taller hat?

So It's Times!

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

How will you decide which way of flipping over and/or turning the grid will give you the highest total?

Teddy Town

Stage: 1, 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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?

More Pebbles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.

Extending Great Squares

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Explore one of these five pictures.

Tea Cups

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Stacks of Maths!

Stage: 1, 2 and 3

In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other explorations.

Troublesome Triangles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

2010: A Year of Investigations

Stage: 1, 2 and 3

This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.

Pebbles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Place four pebbles on the sand in the form of a square. Keep adding as few pebbles as necessary to double the area. How many extra pebbles are added each time?

Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.

More Plant Spaces

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.