What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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.
Find the smallest whole number which, when mutiplied by 7, gives a
product consisting entirely of ones.
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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
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 a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
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?
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?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
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 largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
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?
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?
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.
Can you work out the arrangement of the digits in the square so
that the given products are correct? The numbers 1 - 9 may be used
once and once only.
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?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost
their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
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?
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules,
to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
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?
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.
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.
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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.?
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?
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
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this
birthday message say?
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?
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?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
Mr McGregor has a magic potting shed. Overnight, the number of
plants in it doubles. He'd like to put the same number of plants in
each of three gardens, planting one garden each day. Can he do it?
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.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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 the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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!