What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
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?
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
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?
An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles.
Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4,
5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
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?
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?
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 different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
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?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
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?
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 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?
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 put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases
overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of
his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?
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.
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?
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5 grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?
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
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!
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
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?