Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect
regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can
make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
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 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?
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. . . .
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.
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
Given a 2 by 2 by 2 skeletal cube with one route `down' the cube.
How many routes are there from A to B?
A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4
respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard
dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .
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. . . .
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
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.
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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?
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form
a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is
the maximum area of the kite?
In how many ways can you fit all three pieces together to make
shapes with line symmetry?
Draw a pentagon with all the diagonals. This is called a pentagram.
How many diagonals are there? How many diagonals are there in a
hexagram, heptagram, ... Does any pattern occur when looking at. . . .
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?
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?
You have 27 small cubes, 3 each of nine colours. Use the small
cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger
cube contains one of every colour.
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.
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. . . .
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
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?
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
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?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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 is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!
Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can
you do it in more than one way?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
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?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?