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?
In how many different ways can you break up a stick of 7 interlocking cubes? Now try with a stick of 8 cubes and a stick of 6 cubes.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
If each of these three shapes has a value, can you find the totals
of the combinations? Perhaps you can use the shapes to make the
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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?
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.
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.
Three children are going to buy some plants for their birthdays. They will plant them within circular paths. How could they do this?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
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
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?
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?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
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?
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?
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?
Penta people, the Pentominoes, always build their houses from five
square rooms. I wonder how many different Penta homes you can
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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
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?
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
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?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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?
Go through the maze, collecting and losing your money as you go.
Which route gives you the highest return? And the lowest?
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
Using only the red and white rods, how many different ways are
there to make up the other colours of rod?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock
face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions
differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
A lady has a steel rod and a wooden pole and she knows the length
of each. How can she measure out an 8 unit piece of pole?
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?
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.
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.
Using all ten cards from 0 to 9, rearrange them to make five prime
numbers. Can you find any other ways of doing it?
Here are the prices for 1st and 2nd class mail within the UK. You have an unlimited number of each of these stamps. Which stamps would you need to post a parcel weighing 825g?
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?
Place the digits 1 to 9 into the circles so that each side of the
triangle adds to the same total.
If you had 36 cubes, what different cuboids could you make?
Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?
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
A church hymn book contains 700 hymns. The numbers of the hymns are
displayed by combining special small single-digit boards. What is
the minimum number of small boards that is needed?
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?
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be
put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways
that this can be done?
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?
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?