Every day at noon a boat leaves Le Havre for New York while another
boat leaves New York for Le Havre. The ocean crossing takes seven
days. How many boats will each boat cross during their journey?
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at
right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles
A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes,
two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus
meet on its way from one end to the other end?
Choose a box and work out the smallest rectangle of paper needed to
wrap it so that it is completely covered.
It is possible to dissect any square into smaller squares. What is
the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of
Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times
would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?
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 a right angled triangular field, three animals are tethered to posts at the midpoint of each side. Each rope is just long enough to allow the animal to reach two adjacent vertices. Only one animal. . . .
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The
frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a
jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions
of. . . .
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Anne completes a circuit around a circular track in 40 seconds.
Brenda runs in the opposite direction and meets Anne every 15
seconds. How long does it take Brenda to run around the track?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock
face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions
differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP
: PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED.
What is the area of the triangle PQR?
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of
the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other
shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
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 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. . . .
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares.
Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
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 outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
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 this sports car?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk
held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?
An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles.
Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4,
5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
Draw a pentagon with all the diagonals. This is called a pentagram.
How many diagonals are there? How many diagonals are there in a
hexagram, heptagram, ... Does any pattern occur when looking at. . . .
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc
BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why
this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
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.
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?