The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of
activities required to develop this thinking.
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight
from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by
99 square board?
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. . . .
A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post.
There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can
tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .
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. . . .
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares.
Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
A cylindrical helix is just a spiral on a cylinder, like an ordinary spring or the thread on a bolt. If I turn a left-handed helix over (top to bottom) does it become a right handed helix?
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
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?
Triangles are formed by joining the vertices of a skeletal cube. How many different types of triangle are there? How many triangles altogether?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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.
Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made from 27 unit cubes so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original 3 by 3 by 3. . . .
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
Draw all the possible distinct triangles on a 4 x 4 dotty grid.
Convince me that you have all possible triangles.
Imagine you have six different colours of paint. You paint a cube
using a different colour for each of the six faces. How many
different cubes can be painted using the same set of six colours?
What is the greatest number of squares you can make by overlapping
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
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. . . .
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
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?
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
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?
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
A group activity using visualisation of squares and triangles.
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex (corner) and
allowing it to hang freely. Now imagine you are lowering it into
water until it is exactly half submerged. What shape does the
surface. . . .
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?
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 Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start.
How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
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 watering can and man in a boat?
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
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!
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable.
Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
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.
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.