An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
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?
These rectangles have been torn. How many squares did each one have
inside it before it was ripped?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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 challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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.
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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?
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number
of points each of their routes scores.
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
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?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Ram divided 15 pennies among four small bags. He could then pay any sum of money from 1p to 15p without opening any bag. How many pennies did Ram put in each bag?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost
their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
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?
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.
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
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 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?
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?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules,
to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
What is the date in February 2002 where the 8 digits are
palindromic if the date is written in the British way?
There is a clock-face where the numbers have become all mixed up. Can you find out where all the numbers have got to from these ten statements?
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
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?
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