Take three differently coloured blocks - maybe red, yellow and blue. Make a tower using one of each colour. How many different towers can you make?
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a
rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle
pieces could there be?
Lorenzie was packing his bag for a school trip. He packed four
shirts and three pairs of pants. "I will be able to have a
different outfit each day", he said. How many days will Lorenzie be
The Red Express Train usually has five red carriages. How many ways
can you find to add two blue carriages?
Explore the different snakes that can be made using 5 cubes.
My briefcase has a three-number combination lock, but I have
forgotten the combination. I remember that there's a 3, a 5 and an
8. How many possible combinations are there to try?
El Crico the cricket has to cross a square patio to get home. He
can jump the length of one tile, two tiles and three tiles. Can you
find a path that would get El Crico home in three jumps?
Start with three pairs of socks. Now mix them up so that no
mismatched pair is the same as another mismatched pair. Is there
more than one way to do it?
How many different shapes can you make by putting four right-
angled isosceles triangles together?
Chandra, Jane, Terry and Harry ordered their lunches from the
sandwich shop. Use the information below to find out who ordered
Penta people, the Pentominoes, always build their houses from five
square rooms. I wonder how many different Penta homes you can
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
The brown frog and green frog want to swap places without getting
wet. They can hop onto a lily pad next to them, or hop over each
other. How could they do it?
Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube.
Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the
shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so if you work in a systematic way, you won't leave any out.
In Sam and Jill's garden there are two sorts of ladybirds with 7 spots or 4 spots. What numbers of total spots can you make?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be
on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
Can you find out in which order the children are standing in this
This challenge is about finding the difference between numbers which have the same tens digit.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They
decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with
each of the others. What was the total number rides?
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three
puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
Can you rearrange the biscuits on the plates so that the three
biscuits on each plate are all different and there is no plate with
two biscuits the same as two biscuits on another plate?
Use the clues to find out who's who in the family, to fill in the family tree and to find out which of the family members are mathematicians and which are not.
In the planet system of Octa the planets are arranged in the shape
of an octahedron. How many different routes could be taken to get
from Planet A to Planet Zargon?
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
Using the cards 2, 4, 6, 8, +, - and =, what number statements can
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many
different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and
the 2 must not touch the table?
Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, invites you to explore the different combinations of scores that you might get on these dart boards.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Can you see who the gold medal winner is? What about the silver medal winner and the bronze medal winner?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
In this problem it is not the squares that jump, you do the jumping! The idea is to go round the track in as few jumps as possible.
Two children made up a game as they walked along the garden paths. Can you find out their scores? Can you find some paths of your own?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?