How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
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?
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
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.
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
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?
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?
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?
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.
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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
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?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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.
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?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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 irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles.
Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4,
5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
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?
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 fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
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?
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.
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!