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?
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.
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.
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
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?
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?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
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?
Roll two red dice and a green dice. Add the two numbers on the red dice and take away the number on the green. What are all the different possibilities that could come up?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into
five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
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
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.
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 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?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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.
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?
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?
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?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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.
Find all the numbers that can be made by adding the dots on two dice.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
This dice train has been made using specific rules. How many different trains can you make?
My local DIY shop calculates the price of its windows according to the area of glass and the length of frame used. Can you work out how they arrived at these prices?
How could you arrange at least two dice in a stack so that the total of the visible spots is 18?
In this game for two players, you throw two dice and find the product. How many shapes can you draw on the grid which have that area or perimeter?