In how many different ways can I colour the five edges of a
pentagon red, blue and green so that no two adjacent edges are the
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.
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.
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top,
put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you
predict the last card?
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 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. . . .
How many ways can you write the word EUROMATHS by starting at the
top left hand corner and taking the next letter by stepping one
step down or one step to the right in a 5x5 array?
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.
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?
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Choose any two numbers. Call them a and b. Work out the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?
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
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.
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?
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
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.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds
leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each
other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return,
400. . . .
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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. . . .
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 train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
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.
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. . . .
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
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?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
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. . . .
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What
movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of
procedures will help - variables not essential.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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. . . .
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a
and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two
edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?