This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of activities required to develop this thinking.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
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 task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
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. . . .
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 game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
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. . . .
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be folded into a cube.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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. . . .
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?
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?
Try this interactive strategy game for 2
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.
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. . . .
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?
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.
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?
Each of the nets of nine solid shapes has been cut into two pieces. Can you see which pieces go together?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
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.
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares. Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
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?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are the same.
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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 outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?