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?
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?
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?
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
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an
isosceles, right angle triangle?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?
If it takes four men one day to build a wall, how long does it take
60,000 men to build a similar wall?
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. . . .
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
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. . . .
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?
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?
A circle is inscribed in a triangle which has side lengths of 8, 15
and 17 cm. What is the radius of the circle?
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?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
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. . . .
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Triangle ABC is isosceles while triangle DEF is equilateral. Find
one angle in terms of the other two.
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?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
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.
Think of two whole numbers under 10. Take one of them and add 1.
Multiply by 5. Add 1 again. Double your answer. Subract 1. Add your
second number. Add 2. Double again. Subtract 8. Halve this. . . .
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.
Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...
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 jigsaw where pieces only go together if the fractions are
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?
What is the smallest number with exactly 14 divisors?
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 guarantee that, for any three numbers you choose, the
product of their differences will always be an even number?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
The number 2.525252525252.... can be written as a fraction. What is
the sum of the denominator and numerator?
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.
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. . . .
Here's a chance to work with large numbers...
A hexagon, with sides alternately a and b units in length, is
inscribed in a circle. How big is the radius of the circle?
Do you know a quick way to check if a number is a multiple of two?
How about three, four or six?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
Can you arrange these numbers into 7 subsets, each of three
numbers, so that when the numbers in each are added together, they
make seven consecutive numbers?
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?
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten
numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.