These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
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.
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
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?
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 we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
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?
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
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
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.
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?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
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?
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?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
Is it possible to place 2 counters on the 3 by 3 grid so that there
is an even number of counters in every row and every column? How
about if you have 3 counters or 4 counters or....?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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?
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?
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!
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
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.
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?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.