What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
Have you got the Mach knack? Discover the mathematics behind
exceeding the sound barrier.
How efficiently can various flat shapes be fitted together?
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?
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 ?
A circular plate rolls inside a rectangular tray making five
circuits and rotating about its centre seven times. Find the
dimensions of the tray.
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves
twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
It is known that the area of the largest equilateral triangular
section of a cube is 140sq cm. What is the side length of the cube?
The distances between the centres of two adjacent faces of. . . .
An introduction to bond angle geometry.
If all the faces of a tetrahedron have the same perimeter then show that they are all congruent.
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?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
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?
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. . . .
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
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.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
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 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.
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
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 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?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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. . . .
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you 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
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. . . .
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?
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 task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
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?
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?
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?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
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
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.
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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?
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.
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?