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. . . .

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?

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 see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?

How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?

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

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

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?

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?

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!

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?

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

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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

If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?

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

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 outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?

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

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

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 the candle and sundial?

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

Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.

Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.

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?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?

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

Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and making spirals.

Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are visible?

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

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.

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?

A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes could he have taken?

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?

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 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.

Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.

In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can be fitted together?

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

Imagine a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. If you and a friend drill holes in some of the small cubes in the ways described, how many will have holes drilled through them?