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. . . .

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. . . .

If you can post the triangle with either the blue or yellow colour face up, how many ways can it be posted altogether?

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?

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.

Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?

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.

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?

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?

Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.

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.

Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.

Move just three of the circles so that the triangle faces in the opposite direction.

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

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!

Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back together?

Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves

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 will be?

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?

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 outlines of these clocks?

How many balls of modelling clay and how many straws does it take to make these skeleton shapes?

Here are shadows of some 3D shapes. What shapes could have made them?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?

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?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?

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.

Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?

Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?

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?

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

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?

How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?

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 outline of the child walking home from school?

This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?

Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?

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.

Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th mark?

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Wai Ping, Wah Ming and Chi Wing?

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?