Suggestions for teachers about exploring maths in different contexts: art, history and so on

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?

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?

El Crico the cricket has to cross a square patio to get home. He can jump the length of one tile, two tiles and three tiles. Can you find a path that would get El Crico home in three jumps?

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

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

Using 3 rods of integer lengths, none longer than 10 units and not using any rod more than once, you can measure all the lengths in whole units from 1 to 10 units. How many ways can you do this?

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?

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

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?

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?

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

Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle pieces could there be?

How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?

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.

If you had 36 cubes, what different cuboids could you make?

I start my journey in Rio de Janeiro and visit all the cities as Hamilton described, passing through Canberra before Madrid, and then returning to Rio. What route could I have taken?

How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are next to each other in any direction?

In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?

Penta people, the Pentominoes, always build their houses from five square rooms. I wonder how many different Penta homes you can create?

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?

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?

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?

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

In this maze of hexagons, you start in the centre at 0. The next hexagon must be a multiple of 2 and the next a multiple of 5. What are the possible paths you could take?

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

Four children were sharing a set of twenty-four butterfly cards. Are there any cards they all want? Are there any that none of them want?

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

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?

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.

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

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

Tim had nine cards each with a different number from 1 to 9 on it. How could he have put them into three piles so that the total in each pile was 15?

Use these head, body and leg pieces to make Robot Monsters which are different heights.

George and Jim want to buy a chocolate bar. George needs 2p more and Jim need 50p more to buy it. How much is the chocolate bar?

How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?

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

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.

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?

How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square tiles of different sizes?

Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?

Semaphore is a way to signal the alphabet using two flags. You might want to send a message that contains more than just letters. How many other symbols could you send using this code?

Can you fill in the empty boxes in the grid with the right shape and colour?

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

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?

Vincent and Tara are making triangles with the class construction set. They have a pile of strips of different lengths. How many different triangles can they make?

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?

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?

In Sam and Jill's garden there are two sorts of ladybirds with 7 spots or 4 spots. What numbers of total spots can you make?