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Broad Topics > Decision Mathematics and Combinatorics > Combinations

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Cuisenaire Counting

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?

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Room Doubling

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.

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Ice Cream

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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Mixed-up Socks

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Start with three pairs of socks. Now mix them up so that no mismatched pair is the same as another mismatched pair. Is there more than one way to do it?

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Calcunos

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?

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Elf Suits

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

If these elves wear a different outfit every day for as many days as possible, how many days can their fun last?

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Zargon Glasses

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to make all the different orders for 9 families?

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Octa Space

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

In the planet system of Octa the planets are arranged in the shape of an octahedron. How many different routes could be taken to get from Planet A to Planet Zargon?

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Team Scream

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with each of the others. What was the total number rides?

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Plates of Biscuits

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you rearrange the biscuits on the plates so that the three biscuits on each plate are all different and there is no plate with two biscuits the same as two biscuits on another plate?

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Two Egg Timers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you measure and how?

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Prison Cells

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall of the prison block. How did he do it?

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Polo Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square below so that each side adds to the same total.

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Three Ball Line Up

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.

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Combining Cuisenaire

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire rods?

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More and More Buckets

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

In this challenge, buckets come in five different sizes. If you choose some buckets, can you investigate the different ways in which they can be filled?

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Button-up Some More

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?

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Triangle Edges

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many triangles can you make using sticks that are 3cm, 4cm and 5cm long?

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Wag Worms

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube. Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.

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Chocs, Mints, Jellies

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?

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Triangle Animals

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them all?

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Calendar Cubes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.

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Newspapers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Halloween Investigation

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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 make?

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Street Party

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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 blocks.

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3 Rings

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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On Target

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different ways could you score 44?

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Home City

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Use the clues to work out which cities Mohamed, Sheng, Tanya and Bharat live in.

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Hubble, Bubble

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears, yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?

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We'll Bang the Drum

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different rhythms can you make by putting two drums on the wheel?

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It Figures

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?

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New House

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In this investigation, you must try to make houses using cubes. If the base must not spill over 4 squares and you have 7 cubes which stand for 7 rooms, what different designs can you come up with?

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Teddy Town

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

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?

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Penta Primes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Using all ten cards from 0 to 9, rearrange them to make five prime numbers. Can you find any other ways of doing it?

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Two and One

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Terry and Ali are playing a game with three balls. Is it fair that Terry wins when the middle ball is red?

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Map Folding

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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 it up?

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Delia's Routes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

A little mouse called Delia lives in a hole in the bottom of a tree.....How many days will it be before Delia has to take the same route again?

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Buying a Balloon

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?

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Three by Three

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange 3 red, 3 blue and 3 yellow counters into a three-by-three square grid, so that there is only one of each colour in every row and every column

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Red Express Train

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The Red Express Train usually has five red carriages. How many ways can you find to add two blue carriages?

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3 Blocks Towers

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Take three differently coloured blocks - maybe red, yellow and blue. Make a tower using one of each colour. How many different towers can you make?

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Six Is the Sum

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?

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Sounds Great!

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Investigate the different sounds you can make by putting the owls and donkeys on the wheel.

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The Puzzling Sweet Shop

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children buy with their money?

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Fair Exchange

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In your bank, you have three types of coins. The number of spots shows how much they are worth. Can you choose coins to exchange with the groups given to make the same total?

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Homes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

There are to be 6 homes built on a new development site. They could be semi-detached, detached or terraced houses. How many different combinations of these can you find?

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Play a Merry Tune

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds. What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you are given?

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Button-up

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all the buttons?

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Tea Cups

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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More Plant Spaces

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.