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.
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?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
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.?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
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?
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this
birthday message say?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the
information who sat where and what their profession were?
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?
Can you use this information to work out Charlie's house number?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white
rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
How many trapeziums, of various sizes, are hidden in this picture?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You
win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
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?
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.
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!
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?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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
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!
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.
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?
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost
their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
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?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.