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?
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Just four procedures were used to produce a design. How was it
done? Can you be systematic and elegant so that someone can follow
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.
A mathematician goes into a supermarket and buys four items. Using
a calculator she multiplies the cost instead of adding them. How
can her answer be the same as the total at the till?
Can you find all the different triangles on these peg boards, and
find their angles?
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?
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 we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
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?
Whenever a monkey has peaches, he always keeps a fraction of them each day, gives the rest away, and then eats one. How long could he make his peaches last for?
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?
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 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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
This article for teachers suggests activities based on pegboards, from pattern generation to finding all possible triangles, for example.
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
Pentagram Pylons - can you elegantly recreate them? Or, the
European flag in LOGO - what poses the greater problem?
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
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?
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?
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
How many trapeziums, of various sizes, are hidden in this picture?
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What
movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of
procedures will help - variables not essential.
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?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
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.
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Starting with four different triangles, imagine you have an
unlimited number of each type. How many different tetrahedra can
you make? Convince us you have found 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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.