If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that
they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can
you investigate all the different possibilities?
Ana and Ross looked in a trunk in the attic. They found old cloaks
and gowns, hats and masks. How many possible costumes could they
The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence
to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
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.
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the
outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you
find for me to take?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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?
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 help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
These rectangles have been torn. How many squares did each one have
inside it before it was ripped?
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.
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
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?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
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?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the
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.
What is the date in February 2002 where the 8 digits are
palindromic if the date is written in the British way?
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.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
I was in my car when I noticed a line of four cars on the lane next
to me with number plates starting and ending with J, K, L and M.
What order were they in?
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
What do the numbers shaded in blue on this hundred square have in common? What do you notice about the pink numbers? How about the shaded numbers in the other squares?
This multiplication uses each of the digits 0 - 9 once and once only. Using the information given, can you replace the stars in the calculation with figures?
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 Vikings communicated in writing by making simple scratches on
wood or stones called runes. Can you work out how their code works
using the table of the alphabet?
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
When you throw two regular, six-faced dice you have more chance of getting one particular result than any other. What result would that be? Why is this?
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?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
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?
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?
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
On a digital clock showing 24 hour time, over a whole day, how many
times does a 5 appear? Is it the same number for a 12 hour clock
over a whole day?
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?
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!
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 DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?