A and C are the opposite vertices of a square ABCD, and have
coordinates (a,b) and (c,d), respectively. What are the coordinates
of the vertices B and D? What is the area of the square?
A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
A bicycle passes along a path and leaves some tracks. Is it
possible to say which track was made by the front wheel and which
by the back wheel?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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 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!
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
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?
A cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those
cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is
the most and least number of cubes required ?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
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?
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?
The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design. Coins inserted into the machine slide down a chute into the machine and a drink is duly. . . .
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
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?
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?
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.
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
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?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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.
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?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
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
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
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?
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two
different distances between them?
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we