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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears,
yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways
could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a
rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle
pieces could there be?
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
Arrange 3 red, 3 blue and 3 yellow counters into a three-by-three
square grid, so that there is only one of each colour in every row
and every column
Explore the different snakes that can be made using 5 cubes.
Jack has nine tiles. He put them together to make a square so that
two tiles of the same colour were not beside each other. Can you
find another way to do it?
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?
Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the
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.
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!
Lorenzie was packing his bag for a school trip. He packed four
shirts and three pairs of pants. "I will be able to have a
different outfit each day", he said. How many days will Lorenzie be
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
My briefcase has a three-number combination lock, but I have
forgotten the combination. I remember that there's a 3, a 5 and an
8. How many possible combinations are there to try?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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?
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?
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
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.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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?
The Red Express Train usually has five red carriages. How many ways
can you find to add two blue carriages?
Cherri, Saxon, Mel and Paul are friends. They are all different
ages. Can you find out the age of each friend using the
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be
put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways
that this can be done?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Place six toy ladybirds into the box so that there are two
ladybirds in every column and every row.
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?
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?
In Sam and Jill's garden there are two sorts of ladybirds with 7 spots or 4 spots. What numbers of total spots can you make?
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?
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!
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?
Take three differently coloured blocks - maybe red, yellow and
blue. Make a tower using one of each colour. How many different
towers can you make?
Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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?
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
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
There are to be 6 homes built on a new development site. They could
be semi-detached, detached or terraced houses. How many different
combinations of these can you find?
These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is
numerical, one geometric.
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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 ...?
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?
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?