This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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 put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Use the clues to colour each square.
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?
Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
How many different rhythms can you make by putting two drums on the
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them all?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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.
How many trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
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?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
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
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help
you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
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....?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
This cube has ink on each face which leaves marks on paper as it is rolled. Can you work out what is on each face and the route it has taken?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work
out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes
could he have taken?
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?
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?
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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
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?
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
If you hang two weights on one side of this balance, in how many different ways can you hang three weights on the other side for it to be balanced?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?