Chris is enjoying a swim but needs to get back for lunch. If she can swim at 3 m/s and run at 7m/sec, how far along the bank should she land in order to get back as quickly as possible?
Your school has been left a million pounds in the will of an ex-
pupil. What model of investment and spending would you use in order
to ensure the best return on the money?
An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?
A hexagon, with sides alternately a and b units in length, is inscribed in a circle. How big is the radius of the circle?
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
If it takes four men one day to build a wall, how long does it take
60,000 men to build a similar wall?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is,
satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in
a circle with a unit radius?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a
room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest
distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
Water freezes at 0°Celsius (32°Fahrenheit) and boils at 100°C (212°Fahrenheit). Is there a temperature at which Celsius and Fahrenheit readings are the same?
Two ladders are propped up against facing walls. The end of the
first ladder is 10 metres above the foot of the first wall. The end
of the second ladder is 5 metres above the foot of the second. . . .
An aluminium can contains 330 ml of cola. If the can's diameter is
6 cm what is the can's height?
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
A game for 2 or more people, based on the traditional card game
Rummy. Players aim to make two `tricks', where each trick has to
consist of a picture of a shape, a name that describes that shape,
and. . . .
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
There are lots of different methods to find out what the shapes are worth - how many can you find?
A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find
the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
A 1 metre cube has one face on the ground and one face against a
wall. A 4 metre ladder leans against the wall and just touches the
cube. How high is the top of the ladder above the ground?
If the hypotenuse (base) length is 100cm and if an extra line
splits the base into 36cm and 64cm parts, what were the side
lengths for the original right-angled triangle?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an
isosceles, right angle triangle?
Why does this fold create an angle of sixty degrees?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
Each of the following shapes is made from arcs of a circle of
radius r. What is the perimeter of a shape with 3, 4, 5 and n
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
Some people offer advice on how to win at games of chance, or how
to influence probability in your favour. Can you decide whether
advice is good or not?
Chris and Jo put two red and four blue ribbons in a box. They each
pick a ribbon from the box without looking. Jo wins if the two
ribbons are the same colour. Is the game fair?
Which of these games would you play to give yourself the best possible chance of winning a prize?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating
shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds
leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each
other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return,
400. . . .