Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
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
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?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
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. . . .
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?
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!
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. . . .
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?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
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.
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?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
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?
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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. . . .
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
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?
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 huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes,
two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus
meet on its way from one end to the other end?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
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?
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
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?
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?
ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of
the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP
must be less than 10 cm.
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?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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. . . .
This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.
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?
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. 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.
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?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
A and C are the opposite vertices of a square ABCD, and have
coordinates (a,b) and (c,d), respectively. What are the coordinates
of the vertices B and D? What is the area of the square?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
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. . . .
Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can
you do it in more than one way?