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.
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?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
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?
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
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?
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 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 can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
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.
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?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
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 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 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 game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
Four rods are hinged at their ends to form a convex quadrilateral.
Investigate the different shapes that the quadrilateral can take.
Be patient this problem may be slow to load.
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
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
This article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .
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 ?
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?
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
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.
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
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
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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.
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!
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
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?
Have you got the Mach knack? Discover the mathematics behind
exceeding the sound barrier.
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.