What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There
are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where
are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep
truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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 cover the camel with these pieces?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
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?
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 work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
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?
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?
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you
move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up
with the same arrangement?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
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 is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
What is the least number of moves you can take to rearrange the
bears so that no bear is next to a bear of the same colour?
This article for teachers describes how modelling number properties
involving multiplication using an array of objects not only allows
children to represent their thinking with concrete materials,. . . .
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.
In this town, houses are built with one room for each person. There
are some families of seven people living in the town. In how many
different ways can they build their houses?
Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
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?
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?
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
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
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!
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
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.