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?
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
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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
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?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
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?
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.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4
units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different
cuboids can you make?
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!
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.
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
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?
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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
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
Mr McGregor has a magic potting shed. Overnight, the number of
plants in it doubles. He'd like to put the same number of plants in
each of three gardens, planting one garden each day. Can he do it?
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the
outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you
find for me to take?
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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.
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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!
Starting with four different triangles, imagine you have an
unlimited number of each type. How many different tetrahedra can
you make? Convince us you have found them all.
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
These eleven shapes each stand for a different number. Can you use the multiplication sums to work out what they are?
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?
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?