In this town, houses are built with one room for each person. There
are some families of seven people living in the town. In how many
different ways can they build their houses?
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles
using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What
other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles
together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can
be fitted together?
This was a problem for our birthday website. Can you use four of these pieces to form a square? How about making a square with all five pieces?
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create
your own repeating pattern?
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
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.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
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 make the birds from the egg tangram?
This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and
what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the
shapes in the picture?
Is there a best way to stack cans? What do different supermarkets
do? How high can you safely stack the cans?
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?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
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 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?
NRICH December 2006 advent calendar - a new tangram for each day in
the run-up to Christmas.
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
These pictures show squares split into halves. Can you find other ways?
Our 2008 Advent Calendar has a 'Making Maths' activity for every
day in the run-up to Christmas.
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
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?
Explore the triangles that can be made with seven sticks of the
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
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.
Can you make five differently sized squares from the tangram
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular
fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular
You'll need a collection of cups for this activity.
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
If these balls are put on a line with each ball touching the one in
front and the one behind, which arrangement makes the shortest line
Ideas for practical ways of representing data such as Venn and
For this activity which explores capacity, you will need to collect some bottles and jars.
How do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or