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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
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 same colour?
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?
How many different ways can I lay 10 paving slabs, each 2 foot by 1 foot, to make a path 2 foot wide and 10 foot long from my back door into my garden, without cutting any of the paving slabs?
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. . . .
Given a 2 by 2 by 2 skeletal cube with one route `down' the cube. How many routes are there from A to B?
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners) of a given triangle is a minimum.
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
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. . . .
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.
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. . . .
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.
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?
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
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 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?
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?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
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. . . .
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?
A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
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!
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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.
A game for 2 players
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?
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.
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?
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. . . .
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.