This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
A variant on the game Alquerque
Move just three of the circles so that the triangle faces in the
A game for two players on a large squared space.
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be
placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals
have an even number of red counters?
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
What does the overlap of these two shapes look like? Try picturing it in your head and then use the interactivity to test your prediction.
A game for 2 players. Given a board of dots in a grid pattern, players take turns drawing a line by connecting 2 adjacent dots. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent.
An extension of noughts and crosses in which the grid is enlarged
and the length of the winning line can to altered to 3, 4 or 5.
If you can post the triangle with either the blue or yellow colour face up, how many ways can it be posted altogether?
How can the same pieces of the tangram make this bowl before and after it was chipped? Use the interactivity to try and work out what is going on!
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be
removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to
remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
Take it in turns to place a domino on the grid. One to be placed horizontally and the other vertically. Can you make it impossible for your opponent to play?
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of
Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times
would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
A shape and space game for 2,3 or 4 players. Be the last person to be able to place a pentomino piece on the playing board. Play with card, or on the computer.
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red
counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the
other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Fung at the table?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this brazier for roasting chestnuts?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these people?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this shape. How would you describe it?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?
Here are shadows of some 3D shapes. What shapes could have made
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?
How many balls of modelling clay and how many straws does it take
to make these skeleton shapes?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to
another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number
and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand
face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he
had just finished spelling. How did this work?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?
This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which
there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged
to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these rabbits?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the telescope and microscope?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this plaque design?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this junk?