What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
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
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.
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?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work
out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes
could he have taken?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
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?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
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.
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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?
Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16
pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these
pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
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
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
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
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?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
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!
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
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.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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 could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
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.
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the
outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you
find for me to take?
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?
Cherri, Saxon, Mel and Paul are friends. They are all different
ages. Can you find out the age of each friend using the
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has
taken? What does each face look like?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?