This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
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?
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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?
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.
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?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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
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?
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?
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort
them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we
arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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
Sally and Ben were drawing shapes in chalk on the school
playground. Can you work out what shapes each of them drew using
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?
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?
Systematically explore the range of symmetric designs that can be
created by shading parts of the motif below. Use normal square
lattice paper to record your results.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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 article for teachers suggests activities based on pegboards, from pattern generation to finding all possible triangles, for example.
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
My local DIY shop calculates the price of its windows according to the area of glass and the length of frame used. Can you work out how they arrived at these prices?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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 put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?