This article introduces the idea of generic proof for younger children and illustrates how one example can offer a proof of a general result through unpacking its underlying structure.
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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?
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?
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 ...
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,. . . .
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?
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 hundred square has been printed on both sides of a piece of paper. What is on the back of 100? 58? 23? 19?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
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 the workmen?
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
If you can post the triangle with either the blue or yellow colour face up, how many ways can it be posted altogether?
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares.
Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk
held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of
activities required to develop this thinking.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
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.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
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!
Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that
share their sides.
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.
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this shape. How would you describe it?
Where can you put the mirror across the square so that you can still "see" the whole square? How many different positions are possible?
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
Each of the nets of nine solid shapes has been cut into two pieces. Can you see which pieces go together?
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?
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 outline of this plaque design?
Here are shadows of some 3D shapes. What shapes could have made
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!
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 outlines of the candle and sundial?
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?
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
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 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 many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?