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?
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?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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 is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
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.
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?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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
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.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
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?
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!
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
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?
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?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of
four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty 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?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
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
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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
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
My local DIY shop calculates the price of its windows according to the area of glass and the length of frame used. Can you work out how they arrived at these prices?
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.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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
In this game for two players, you throw two dice and find the product. How many shapes can you draw on the grid which have that area or perimeter?
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?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.