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. . . .
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you
work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall
and work out a way they might fit together?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop pupils'
mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on
“visualising” and is designed to meet the needs. . . .
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
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?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
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.
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
For this task, you'll need an A4 sheet and two A5 transparent sheets. Decide on a way of arranging the A5 sheets on top of the A4 sheet and explore ...
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
A game for 1 person. Can you work out how the dice must be rolled from the start position to the finish? Play on line.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares.
Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
What is the greatest number of squares you can make by overlapping
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
What shape has Harry drawn on this clock face? Can you find its
area? What is the largest number of square tiles that could cover
A group activity using visualisation of squares and triangles.
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.
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
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.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this shape. How would you describe it?
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical
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!
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged
L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
Can you cut a regular hexagon into two pieces to make a
parallelogram? Try cutting it into three pieces to make a rhombus!
Can you arrange the shapes in a chain so that each one shares a
face (or faces) that are the same shape as the one that follows it?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
Paint a stripe on a cardboard roll. Can you predict what will
happen when it is rolled across a sheet of paper?
This practical problem challenges you to make quadrilaterals with a loop of string. You'll need some friends to help!
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?
Can you work out what shape is made when this piece of paper is folded up using the crease pattern shown?