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.
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?
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?
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
Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16
pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these
pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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
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?
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
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?
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 thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way
to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the
kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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?
Find all the numbers that can be made by adding the dots on two dice.
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?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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?
When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube.
Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the
shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.
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?
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are
consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight
and 7 a.m.?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
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.
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?
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!
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.
Your challenge is to find the longest way through the network
following this rule. You can start and finish anywhere, and with
any shape, as long as you follow the correct order.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
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!
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4
units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different
cuboids can you make?
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.