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
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
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
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
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?
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?
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
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....?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
Can you find out in which order the children are standing in this
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?
Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?
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?
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be
on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
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.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
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?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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
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?