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
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.
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?
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4
arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or
saucer of the same colour.
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
Your challenge is to find the longest way through the network
following this rule. You can start and finish anywhere, and with
any shape, as long as you follow the correct order.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
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?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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!
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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 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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are
consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight
and 7 a.m.?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the
clues to work out were each person is sitting.
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They
decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with
each of the others. What was the total number rides?
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?
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.
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
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
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?
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.
Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five
equilateral triangles edge to edge.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following 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!
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?