In this problem we see how many pieces we can cut a cube of cheese
into using a limited number of slices. How many pieces will you be
able to make?
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
Takes you through the systematic way in which you can begin to
solve a mixed up Cubic Net. How close will you come to a solution?
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
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!
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
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
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.
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?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
A cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those
cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is
the most and least number of cubes required ?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
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.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Two intersecting circles have a common chord AB. The point C moves
on the circumference of the circle C1. The straight lines CA and CB
meet the circle C2 at E and F respectively. As the point C. . . .
A triangle PQR, right angled at P, slides on a horizontal floor
with Q and R in contact with perpendicular walls. What is the locus
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 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
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. . . .
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. . . .
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
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?
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?
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?
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
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. . . .
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.
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.
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
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.
Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value
that the standard deviation can take?
A circular plate rolls inside a rectangular tray making five
circuits and rotating about its centre seven times. Find the
dimensions of the tray.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .