How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
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. . . .
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a
room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest
distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
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.
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?
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?
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 moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point
of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the
square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9,
12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
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?
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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. . . .
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
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
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
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?
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is
covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom
right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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
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?
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.
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 game for 2 players
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. . . .
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being
visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes
so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times
you. . . .