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
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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
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 many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
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.
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?
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?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
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?
One face of a regular tetrahedron is painted blue and each of the
remaining faces are painted using one of the colours red, green or
yellow. How many different possibilities are there?
Starting with four different triangles, imagine you have an
unlimited number of each type. How many different tetrahedra can
you make? Convince us you have found them all.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
Imagine a pyramid which is built in square layers of small cubes. If we number the cubes from the top, starting with 1, can you picture which cubes are directly below this first cube?
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?
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.
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
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?
A toy has a regular tetrahedron, a cube and a base with triangular
and square hollows. If you fit a shape into the correct hollow a
bell rings. How many times does the bell ring in a complete game?
Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can
you do it in more than one way?
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,. . . .
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?
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will
not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the
quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret
the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will
be produced using different wheels?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from
interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the
models together then compare your constructions.
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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?
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 Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
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?