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
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?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help
you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
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.
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?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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?
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are
you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of
sticks that make the most triangles?
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles
using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What
other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
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.
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
Alice and Brian are snails who live on a wall and can only travel
along the cracks. Alice wants to go to see Brian. How far is the
shortest route along the cracks? Is there more than one way to go?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the
The Vikings communicated in writing by making simple scratches on
wood or stones called runes. Can you work out how their code works
using the table of the alphabet?
I was in my car when I noticed a line of four cars on the lane next
to me with number plates starting and ending with J, K, L and M.
What order were they in?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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.
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?
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.
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
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.
How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral
triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and
multiply them together. How many different products can you find?
How do you know you've got them all?
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?
Nina must cook some pasta for 15 minutes but she only has a 7-minute sand-timer and an 11-minute sand-timer. How can she use these timers to measure exactly 15 minutes?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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!
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?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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!
In this town, houses are built with one room for each person. There
are some families of seven people living in the town. In how many
different ways can they build their houses?