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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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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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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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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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Seven Pots of Plants

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

There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.

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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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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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A-magical Number Maze

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

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!

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Sweets in a Box

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are next to each other in any direction?

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Mrs Beeswax

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

In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?

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Shapes in a Grid

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

Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?

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Ice Cream

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

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.

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Bean Bags for Bernard's Bag

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

How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?

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Fake Gold

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake bar?

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Pasta Timing

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Wonky Watches

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

Stuart's watch loses two minutes every hour. Adam's watch gains one minute every hour. Use the information to work out what time (the real time) they arrived at the airport.

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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.

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Mixed-up Socks

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

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?

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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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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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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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Rabbits in the Pen

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

Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of rabbit there are in these pens?

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Whose Face?

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.

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More and More Buckets

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

In this challenge, buckets come in five different sizes. If you choose some buckets, can you investigate the different ways in which they can be filled?

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It Figures

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

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?

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A Bit of a Dicey Problem

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

When you throw two regular, six-faced dice you have more chance of getting one particular result than any other. What result would that be? Why is this?

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Counters in the Middle

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.

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1 to 8

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive numbers are joined by a line.

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Seven Square Numbers

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

Add the sum of the squares of four numbers between 10 and 20 to the sum of the squares of three numbers less than 6 to make the square of another, larger, number.

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Ordered Ways of Working Upper Primary

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.

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Button-up Some More

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

How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?

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Button-up

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all the buttons?

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Rolling That Cube

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

My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has taken? What does each face look like?

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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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Penta Primes

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

Using all ten cards from 0 to 9, rearrange them to make five prime numbers. Can you find any other ways of doing it?

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Route Product

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

Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which route has the smallest product? Which the largest?

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Jumping Squares

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

In this problem it is not the squares that jump, you do the jumping! The idea is to go round the track in as few jumps as possible.

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Beads and Bags

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

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?

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Sealed Solution

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

Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?

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Stairs

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

This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.

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5 on the Clock

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

On a digital clock showing 24 hour time, over a whole day, how many times does a 5 appear? Is it the same number for a 12 hour clock over a whole day?

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Eight Queens

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

Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.

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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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Curious Number

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

Can you order the digits from 1-6 to make a number which is divisible by 6 so when the last digit is removed it becomes a 5-figure number divisible by 5, and so on?

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2,4,6,8

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

Using the cards 2, 4, 6, 8, +, - and =, what number statements can you make?

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Making Squares

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

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?

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin

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

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!

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Late Again

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

Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?

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Octa Space

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

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?

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Pouring the Punch Drink

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

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 jugs.