The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. The Greedy Algorithm might provide us with an efficient
way of doing this.
A decorator can buy pink paint from two manufacturers. What is the
least number he would need of each type in order to produce
different shades of pink.
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
Is it always possible to combine two paints made up in the ratios
1:x and 1:y and turn them into paint made up in the ratio a:b ? Can
you find an efficent way of doing this?
A jigsaw where pieces only go together if the fractions are
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
A mother wants to share a sum of money by giving each of her
children in turn a lump sum plus a fraction of the remainder. How
can she do this in order to share the money out equally?
A circle of radius r touches two sides of a right angled triangle,
sides x and y, and has its centre on the hypotenuse. Can you prove
the formula linking x, y and r?
Ben passed a third of his counters to Jack, Jack passed a quarter
of his counters to Emma and Emma passed a fifth of her counters to
Ben. After this they all had the same number of counters.
What angle is needed for a ball to do a circuit of the billiard
table and then pass through its original position?
Rectangle PQRS has X and Y on the edges. Triangles PQY, YRX and XSP
have equal areas. Prove X and Y divide the sides of PQRS in the
How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
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. . . .
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
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?
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?
In 15 years' time my age will be the square of my age 15 years ago. Can you work out my age, and when I had other special birthdays?
If: A + C = A; F x D = F; B - G = G; A + H = E; B / H = G; E - G =
F and A-H represent the numbers from 0 to 7 Find the values of A,
B, C, D, E, F and H.
There is a particular value of x, and a value of y to go with it, which make all five expressions equal in value, can you find that x, y pair ?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Investigate how you can work out what day of the week your birthday will be on next year, and the year after...
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 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?
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?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
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?
This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship
between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on
AB as diameter?
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
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?
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?
An aluminium can contains 330 ml of cola. If the can's diameter is 6 cm what is the can's height?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
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?
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating
shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Five children went into the sweet shop after school. There were
choco bars, chews, mini eggs and lollypops, all costing under 50p.
Suggest a way in which Nathan could spend all his money.
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
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. . . .