Which of these games would you play to give yourself the best possible chance of winning a prize?
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?
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?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
What is the largest number which, when divided into 1905, 2587,
3951, 7020 and 8725 in turn, leaves the same remainder each time?
Given an equilateral triangle inside an isosceles triangle, can you find a relationship between the angles?
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. . . .
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
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. . . .
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?
Substitute -1, -2 or -3, into an algebraic expression and you'll
get three results. Is it possible to tell in advance which of those
three will be the largest ?
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
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 ?
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?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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?
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
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
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 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?
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. . . .
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?
Investigate how you can work out what day of the week your birthday will be on next year, and the year after...
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an isosceles, right angle triangle?
How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
Why does this fold create an angle of sixty degrees?
Show that is it impossible to have a tetrahedron whose six edges
have lengths 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 units...
A hexagon, with sides alternately a and b units in length, is inscribed in a circle. How big is the radius of the circle?
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?
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 "nodes".
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?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two 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?
An aluminium can contains 330 ml of cola. If the can's diameter is 6 cm what is the can's height?
Manufacturers need to minimise the amount of material used to make
their product. What is the best cross-section for a gutter?
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?
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 maximise the area available to a grazing goat?