How efficiently can you pack together disks?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
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?
Points P, Q, R and S each divide the sides AB, BC, CD and DA respectively in the ratio of 2 : 1. Join the points. What is the area of the parallelogram PQRS in relation to the original rectangle?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
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
Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made from 27 unit cubes so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original 3 by 3 by 3. . . .
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 cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret
the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will
be produced using different wheels?
This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
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 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
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?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
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?
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 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. . . .
It is possible to dissect any square into smaller squares. What is
the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected
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. . . .
A circular plate rolls in contact with the sides of a rectangular
tray. How much of its circumference comes into contact with the
sides of the tray when it rolls around one circuit?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
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?
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
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?
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?
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem,
but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
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.
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. . . .
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
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?
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. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
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.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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.
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
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 dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9,
12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
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?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
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 half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?