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?
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
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.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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?
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?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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.
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
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
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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?
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are
consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight
and 7 a.m.?
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
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.
How many trapeziums, of various sizes, are hidden in this picture?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white
rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You
win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this
birthday message say?
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?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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?
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
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the
clues to work out were each person is sitting.
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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!
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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?
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?
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?