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?
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.
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 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?
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
Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4
arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or
saucer of the same colour.
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
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?
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
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?
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.
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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!
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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!
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?
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?
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
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.
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
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?
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
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.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
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
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 ...?
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?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
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?
Can you put the 25 coloured tiles into the 5 x 5 square so that no
column, no row and no diagonal line have tiles of the same colour
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost
their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles
together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can
be fitted together?