A useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for
discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking
about the formulae needed for generating the results on a
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two
different distances between them?
In the game of Noughts and Crosses there are 8 distinct winning
lines. How many distinct winning lines are there in a game played
on a 3 by 3 by 3 board, with 27 cells?
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.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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?
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.
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?
A 3x3x3 cube may be reduced to unit cubes in six saw cuts. If after
every cut you can rearrange the pieces before cutting straight
through, can you do it in fewer?
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you
work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall
and work out a way they might fit together?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop pupils'
mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on
“visualising” and is designed to meet the needs. . . .
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
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. . . .
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
A and B are two interlocking cogwheels having p teeth and q teeth respectively. One tooth on B is painted red. Find the values of p and q for which the red tooth on B contacts every gap on the. . . .
Here are four tiles. They can be arranged in a 2 by 2 square so that this large square has a green edge. If the tiles are moved around, we can make a 2 by 2 square with a blue edge... Now try to. . . .
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can
you do it in more than one way?
How can you make an angle of 60 degrees by folding a sheet of paper
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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?
A tilted square is a square with no horizontal sides. Can you
devise a general instruction for the construction of a square when
you are given just one of its sides?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
Triangles are formed by joining the vertices of a skeletal cube. How many different types of triangle are there? How many triangles altogether?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
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?
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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?
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.
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.
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. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of
the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP
must be less than 10 cm.
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged
L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
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. . . .
A game has a special dice with a colour spot on each face. These three pictures show different views of the same dice. What colour is opposite blue?
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?