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?
For any right-angled triangle find the radii of the three escribed
circles touching the sides of the triangle externally.
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
Imagine a rectangular tray lying flat on a table. Suppose that a plate lies on the tray and rolls around, in contact with the sides as it rolls. What can we say about the motion?
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?
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 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?
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
How efficiently can various flat shapes be fitted together?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
Can you use small coloured cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of each colour?
The net of a cube is to be cut from a sheet of card 100 cm square.
What is the maximum volume cube that can be made from a single
piece of card?
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?
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.
P is a point on the circumference of a circle radius r which rolls,
without slipping, inside a circle of radius 2r. What is the locus
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are
the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it
rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Have you got the Mach knack? Discover the mathematics behind
exceeding the sound barrier.
An introduction to bond angle geometry.
Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks
for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read
direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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!
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.
A box of size a cm by b cm by c cm is to be wrapped with a square piece of wrapping paper. Without cutting the paper what is the smallest square this can be?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
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. . . .
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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?
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. . . .
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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. . . .
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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?
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
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?
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?