Here are some ideas to try in the classroom for using counters to investigate number patterns.
Have a go at drawing these stars which use six points drawn around
a circle. Perhaps you can create your own designs?
Can you cut up a square in the way shown and make the pieces into a
Paint a stripe on a cardboard roll. Can you predict what will
happen when it is rolled across a sheet of paper?
Using these kite and dart templates, you could try to recreate part
of Penrose's famous tessellation or design one yourself.
Make a mobius band and investigate its properties.
This is a simple paper-folding activity that gives an intriguing result which you can then investigate further.
Make a cube with three strips of paper. Colour three faces or use
the numbers 1 to 6 to make a die.
How can you make a curve from straight strips of paper?
Did you know mazes tell stories? Find out more about mazes and make
one of your own.
Make a ball from triangles!
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
Follow the diagrams to make this patchwork piece, based on an
octagon in a square.
Follow these instructions to make a three-piece and/or seven-piece
Have a look at what happens when you pull a reef knot and a granny
knot tight. Which do you think is best for securing things
Surprise your friends with this magic square trick.
How do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?
It's hard to make a snowflake with six perfect lines of symmetry,
but it's fun to try!
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
Follow these instructions to make a five-pointed snowflake from a
square of paper.
What shapes can you make by folding an A4 piece of paper?
This practical activity involves measuring length/distance.
Have you noticed that triangles are used in manmade structures?
Perhaps there is a good reason for this? 'Test a Triangle' and see
how rigid triangles are.
Kaia is sure that her father has worn a particular tie twice a week
in at least five of the last ten weeks, but her father disagrees.
Who do you think is right?
Ideas for practical ways of representing data such as Venn and
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this plaque design?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Can you deduce the pattern that has been used to lay out these
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these rabbits?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the telescope and microscope?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this brazier for roasting chestnuts?
Looking at the picture of this Jomista Mat, can you decribe what
you see? Why not try and make one yourself?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
This problem invites you to build 3D shapes using two different
triangles. Can you make the shapes from the pictures?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
NRICH December 2006 advent calendar - a new tangram for each day in
the run-up to Christmas.
Use the lines on this figure to show how the square can be divided into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 6 sixths and 9 ninths.
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical
Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and
Can you recreate this Indian screen pattern? Can you make up
similar patterns of your own?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Wai Ping, Wah Ming and Chi Wing?