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.
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
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?
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?
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
Try this interactive strategy game for 2
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?
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. . . .
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
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.
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?
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of
activities required to develop this thinking.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
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?
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.
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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. . . .
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 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?
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?
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?
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.
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular
intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with
a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a
layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Take a line segment of length 1. Remove the middle third. Remove
the middle thirds of what you have left. Repeat infinitely many
times, and you have the Cantor Set. Can you picture it?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
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?
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?
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.
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk
held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?
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?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these rabbits?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the telescope and microscope?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Wai Ping, Wah Ming and Chi Wing?