What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
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.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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
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 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?
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
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 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 you had 36 cubes, what different cuboids could 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
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?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
The letters of the word ABACUS have been arranged in the shape of a
triangle. How many different ways can you find to read the word
ABACUS from this triangular pattern?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
Try out the lottery that is played in a far-away land. What is the
chance of winning?
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!
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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?
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of
four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
Starting with four different triangles, imagine you have an
unlimited number of each type. How many different tetrahedra can
you make? Convince us you have found them all.
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 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
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
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?
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!
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?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and
ends with 100. Can you build it up?