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?
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 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?
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!
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.
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?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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.
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
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?
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.
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?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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
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?
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 shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep
truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
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?
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
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?
Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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?
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?
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
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!
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.
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?
Cherri, Saxon, Mel and Paul are friends. They are all different
ages. Can you find out the age of each friend using the
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles
using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What
other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
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?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the