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
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?
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.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
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?
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!
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?
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
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.
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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
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.
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
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?
Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five
equilateral triangles edge to edge.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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.
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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 could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
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?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?