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.
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
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?
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.
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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 shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep
truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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?
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
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Your challenge is to find the longest way through the network
following this rule. You can start and finish anywhere, and with
any shape, as long as you follow the correct order.
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?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
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....?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
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 help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
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!
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
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?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?