This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which
there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged
to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
Here are the six faces of a cube - in no particular order. Here are
three views of the cube. Can you deduce where the faces are in
relation to each other and record them on the net of this cube?
A game has a special dice with a colour spot on each face. These three pictures show different views of the same dice. What colour is opposite blue?
How can you paint the faces of these eight cubes so they can be put
together to make a 2 x 2 cube that is green all over AND a 2 x 2
cube that is yellow all over?
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
Triangles are formed by joining the vertices of a skeletal cube. How many different types of triangle are there? How many triangles altogether?
A 3x3x3 cube may be reduced to unit cubes in six saw cuts. If after
every cut you can rearrange the pieces before cutting straight
through, can you do it in fewer?
A useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for
discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking
about the formulae needed for generating the results on a
Imagine a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made of 9 small cubes. Each face of the large cube is painted a different colour. How many small cubes will have two painted faces? Where are they?
Imagine a 4 by 4 by 4 cube. If you and a friend drill holes in some of the small cubes in the ways described, how many will not have holes drilled through them?
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex (corner) and
allowing it to hang freely. Now imagine you are lowering it into
water until it is exactly half submerged. What shape does the
surface. . . .
In the game of Noughts and Crosses there are 8 distinct winning
lines. How many distinct winning lines are there in a game played
on a 3 by 3 by 3 board, with 27 cells?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
We need to wrap up this cube-shaped present, remembering that we
can have no overlaps. What shapes can you find to use?
I've made some cubes and some cubes with holes in. This challenge
invites you to explore the difference in the number of small cubes
I've used. Can you see any patterns?
How can we as teachers begin to introduce 3D ideas to young
children? Where do they start? How can we lay the foundations for a
later enthusiasm for working in three dimensions?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from
interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the
models together then compare your constructions.
You have 27 small cubes, 3 each of nine colours. Use the small cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of every colour.
The challenge for you is to make a string of six (or more!) graded
Can you make a 3x3 cube with these shapes made from small cubes?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical
Make a cube with three strips of paper. Colour three faces or use
the numbers 1 to 6 to make a die.
A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .
Investigate the number of faces you can see when you arrange three cubes in different ways.
This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
Imagine you have six different colours of paint. You paint a cube
using a different colour for each of the six faces. How many
different cubes can be painted using the same set of six colours?
Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made from 27 unit cubes so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original 3 by 3 by 3. . . .
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for
practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
A description of how to make the five Platonic solids out of paper.