Manufacturers need to minimise the amount of material used to make
their product. What is the best cross-section for a gutter?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
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. . . .
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
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?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
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.
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
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?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
What angle is needed for a ball to do a circuit of the billiard
table and then pass through its original position?
A hexagon, with sides alternately a and b units in length, is inscribed in a circle. How big is the radius of the circle?
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
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 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?
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers
the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
Given an equilateral triangle inside an isosceles triangle, can you find a relationship between the angles?
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?
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an
isosceles, right angle triangle?
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections 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?
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?
The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = n² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.
Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one.
Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is
special about your results.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
What does this number mean ? Which order of 1, 2, 3 and 4 makes the
highest value ? Which makes the lowest ?
What is the area of the quadrilateral APOQ? Working on the building
blocks will give you some insights that may help you to work it
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
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
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Here are four tiles. They can be arranged in a 2 by 2 square so that this large square has a green edge. If the tiles are moved around, we can make a 2 by 2 square with a blue edge... Now try to. . . .
Find the decimal equivalents of the fractions one ninth, one ninety
ninth, one nine hundred and ninety ninth etc. Explain the pattern
you get and generalise.
Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?
Here's a chance to work with large numbers...
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
Show that is it impossible to have a tetrahedron whose six edges
have lengths 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 units...
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
A plastic funnel is used to pour liquids through narrow apertures.
What shape funnel would use the least amount of plastic to
manufacture for any specific volume ?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Investigate how you can work out what day of the week your birthday will be on next year, and the year after...
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?