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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Working systematically

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Chain of Changes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange the shapes in a line so that you change either colour or shape in the next piece along. Can you find several ways to start with a blue triangle and end with a red circle?

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Tri-five

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five equilateral triangles edge to edge.

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Shaping Up

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?

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Triangle Animals

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them all?

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Cereal Packets

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?

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Four-triangle Arrangements

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different shapes can you make by putting four right- angled isosceles triangles together?

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Torn Shapes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These rectangles have been torn. How many squares did each one have inside it before it was ripped?

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Two by One

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.

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My New Patio

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can you investigate patios of different sizes?

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Dienes' Logiblocs

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Fault-free Rectangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.

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Square Corners

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Tiles on a Patio

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square tiles of different sizes?

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Family Tree

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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How Much Did it Cost?

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.

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Chocoholics

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

George and Jim want to buy a chocolate bar. George needs 2p more and Jim need 50p more to buy it. How much is the chocolate bar?

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Uncanny Triangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?

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Tri.'s

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?

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Counting Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Ancient Runes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Adding Plus

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Symmetry Challenge

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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Plate Spotting

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Counters

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Here to There 1 2 3

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Lots of Lollies

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Frances and Rishi were given a bag of lollies. They shared them out evenly and had one left over. How many lollies could there have been in the bag?

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Triangle Edges

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many triangles can you make using sticks that are 3cm, 4cm and 5cm long?

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Nineteen Hexagons

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Finding Fifteen

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Tim had nine cards each with a different number from 1 to 9 on it. How could he have put them into three piles so that the total in each pile was 15?

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Geoboards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.

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Arrangements

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Is it possible to place 2 counters on the 3 by 3 grid so that there is an even number of counters in every row and every column? How about if you have 3 counters or 4 counters or....?

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Robot Monsters

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Use these head, body and leg pieces to make Robot Monsters which are different heights.

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Polo Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square below so that each side adds to the same total.

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Cuisenaire Counting

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?

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Paw Prints

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Nine-pin Triangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?

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Masterclass Ideas: Working Systematically

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A package contains a set of resources designed to develop students’ mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on “being systematic” and is designed to meet. . . .

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Zargon Glasses

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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All Seated

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same properties?

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Palindromic Date

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

What is the date in February 2002 where the 8 digits are palindromic if the date is written in the British way?

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Is a Square a Rectangle?

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many rectangles can you find in this shape? Which ones are differently sized and which are 'similar'?

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Buying a Balloon

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?

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A City of Towers

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Tessellate the Triominoes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

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Polydron

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.

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Routes 1 and 5

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?

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Seven Flipped

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.

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Calcunos

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?

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Jumping Cricket

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Mystery Matrix

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.