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?
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?
Penta people, the Pentominoes, always build their houses from five
square rooms. I wonder how many different Penta homes you can
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?
The Red Express Train usually has five red carriages. How many ways
can you find to add two blue carriages?
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?
Explore the different snakes that can be made using 5 cubes.
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
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?
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.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
Chandra, Jane, Terry and Harry ordered their lunches from the
sandwich shop. Use the information below to find out who ordered
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?
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?
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.
Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the
next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?
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?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be
on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
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?
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
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!
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.
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
Using the cards 2, 4, 6, 8, +, - and =, what number statements can
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?
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?
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!
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
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?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
In this maze of hexagons, you start in the centre at 0. The next
hexagon must be a multiple of 2 and the next a multiple of 5. What
are the possible paths you could take?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
Can you see who the gold medal winner is? What about the silver medal winner and the bronze medal winner?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so if you work in a systematic way, you won't leave any out.
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?