The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.

This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.

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?

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?

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?

Place the numbers 1, 2, 3,..., 9 one on each square of a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows and columns add up to a prime number. How many different solutions can you find?

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?

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

On a clock the three hands - the second, minute and hour hands - are on the same axis. How often in a 24 hour day will the second hand be parallel to either of the two other hands?

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. . . .

Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?

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.

Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of procedures will help - variables not essential.

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

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 again?

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 moves.

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?

See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.

The reader is invited to investigate changes (or permutations) in the ringing of church bells, illustrated by braid diagrams showing the order in which the bells are rung.

Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.

Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?

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?

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. . . .

Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?

This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.

Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?

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?

Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?

Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?

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.

Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.

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.

Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.

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. . . .

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,. . . .

Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?

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?

Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?

These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares. Can you find the 10 hidden squares?

Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is the maximum area of the kite?

This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of activities required to develop this thinking.

Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?

The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .

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. . . .