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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard
that has nine pegs?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
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?
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?
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
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?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
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?
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?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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....?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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?
Use the clues to find out who's who in the family, to fill in the family tree and to find out which of the family members are mathematicians and which are not.
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.
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
Can you find all the different triangles on these peg boards, and
find their angles?
Sally and Ben were drawing shapes in chalk on the school
playground. Can you work out what shapes each of them drew using
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?
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.
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 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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Try out the lottery that is played in a far-away land. What is the
chance of winning?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
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
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?