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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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
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?
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?
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles
together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can
be fitted together?
Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep
truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
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 clues about the symmetrical properties of these letters to
place them on the grid.
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be
placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals
have an even number of red counters?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
How many triangles can you make using sticks that are 3cm, 4cm and 5cm long?
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 work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work
out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes
could he have taken?
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?
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 clues to colour each square.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
Vincent and Tara are making triangles with the class construction set. They have a pile of strips of different lengths. How many different triangles can they make?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
How many different rhythms can you make by putting two drums on the
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
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 from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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?
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
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!