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?
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?
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
It is known that the area of the largest equilateral triangular
section of a cube is 140sq cm. What is the side length of the cube?
The distances between the centres of two adjacent faces of. . . .
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
An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an
isosceles, right angle triangle?
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?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
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?
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 ?
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. . . .
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
If it takes four men one day to build a wall, how long does it take
60,000 men to build a similar wall?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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 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?
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?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
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?
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. . . .
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
A hexagon, with sides alternately a and b units in length, is
inscribed in a circle. How big is the radius of the circle?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
Show that is it impossible to have a tetrahedron whose six edges
have lengths 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 units...
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.
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
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 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?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
A circle is inscribed in a triangle which has side lengths of 8, 15
and 17 cm. What is the radius of the circle?
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
Triangle ABC is isosceles while triangle DEF is equilateral. Find
one angle in terms of the other two.
My two digit number is special because adding the sum of its digits to the product of its digits gives me my original number. What could my number be?
Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
Start with two numbers. This is the start of a sequence. The next
number is the average of the last two numbers. Continue the
sequence. What will happen if you carry on for ever?
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.
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?