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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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
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?
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
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....?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
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?
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.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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 ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
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!
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 merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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.
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and
multiply them together. How many different products can you find?
How do you know you've got them all?
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
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?
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
Alice and Brian are snails who live on a wall and can only travel
along the cracks. Alice wants to go to see Brian. How far is the
shortest route along the cracks? Is there more than one way to go?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
This problem is based on a code using two different prime numbers
less than 10. You'll need to multiply them together and shift the
alphabet forwards by the result. Can you decipher the code?
In this game for two players, you throw two dice and find the product. How many shapes can you draw on the grid which have that area or perimeter?
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!
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?
Can you find all the different triangles on these peg boards, and
find their angles?