When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort
them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we
arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
Systematically explore the range of symmetric designs that can be
created by shading parts of the motif below. Use normal square
lattice paper to record your results.
The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence
to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes
totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the
different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that
they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can
you investigate all the different possibilities?
Ana and Ross looked in a trunk in the attic. They found old cloaks
and gowns, hats and masks. How many possible costumes could they
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4 arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or saucer of the same colour.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the
clues to work out were each person is sitting.
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?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
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!
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five
equilateral triangles edge to edge.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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 working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
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?
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are
consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight
and 7 a.m.?
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There
are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where
are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
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
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.
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way
to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the
kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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?