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 ?
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. . . .
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?
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?
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 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 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
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
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
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. . . .
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can
you do it in more than one way?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
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?
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?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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.
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 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?
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?
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?
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.
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
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?
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. . . .
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem,
but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
This article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two
different distances between them?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
In a right angled triangular field, three animals are tethered to posts at the midpoint of each side. Each rope is just long enough to allow the animal to reach two adjacent vertices. Only one animal. . . .
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
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?
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
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?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite