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?
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.
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
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?
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
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
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?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
Use the clues to work out which cities Mohamed, Sheng, Tanya and
Bharat live in.
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?
If these elves wear a different outfit every day for as many days
as possible, how many days can their fun last?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
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?
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?
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be
on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They
decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with
each of the others. What was the total number rides?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
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?
In this maze of hexagons, you start in the centre at 0. The next
hexagon must be a multiple of 2 and the next a multiple of 5. What
are the possible paths you could take?
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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....?
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?
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?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
Use the clues to colour each square.
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
How many different rhythms can you make by putting two drums on the
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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?
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?
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?
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.