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
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
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
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?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand
face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he
had just finished spelling. How did this work?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5
grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand
point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?
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.
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?
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
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be
removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to
remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
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?
Can you put the 25 coloured tiles into the 5 x 5 square so that no
column, no row and no diagonal line have tiles of the same colour
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of
four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and
what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the
shapes in the picture?
Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
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?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
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.