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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
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?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this junk?
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,. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
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 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
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this plaque design?
A hundred square has been printed on both sides of a piece of paper. What is on the back of 100? 58? 23? 19?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
If you can post the triangle with either the blue or yellow colour face up, how many ways can it be posted altogether?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
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?
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?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
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 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 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 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.
Each of the nets of nine solid shapes has been cut into two pieces.
Can you see which pieces go together?
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
You have been given three shapes made out of sponge: a sphere, a cylinder and a cone. Your challenge is to find out how to cut them to make different shapes for printing.
Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that
share their sides.
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.
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. 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.
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?
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
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?
Here are shadows of some 3D shapes. What shapes could have made
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 workmen?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?