This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of
activities required to develop this thinking.
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?
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?
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. . . .
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?
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?
You want to make each of the 5 Platonic solids and colour the faces
so that, in every case, no two faces which meet along an edge have
the same colour.
Each of the nets of nine solid shapes has been cut into two pieces. Can you see which pieces go together?
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?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
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?
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?
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?
How many different ways can I lay 10 paving slabs, each 2 foot by 1
foot, to make a path 2 foot wide and 10 foot long from my back door
into my garden, without cutting any of the paving slabs?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
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. . . .
This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
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?
Try this interactive strategy game for 2
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. . . .
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. . . .
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
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?
We're excited about this new program for drawing beautiful mathematical designs. Can you work out how we made our first few pictures and, even better, share your most elegant solutions with us?
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 workmen?
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?
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. . . .
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?
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk
held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
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,. . . .
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
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
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.
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
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.