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
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?
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. . . .
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?
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?
Triangles are formed by joining the vertices of a skeletal cube. How many different types of triangle are there? How many triangles altogether?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
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. . . .
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we
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. . . .
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.
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
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. . . .
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?
This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!
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.
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being
visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes
so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times
you. . . .
It is known that the area of the largest equilateral triangular
section of a cube is 140sq cm. What is the side length of the cube?
The distances between the centres of two adjacent faces of. . . .
There are thirteen axes of rotational symmetry of a unit cube. Describe them all. What is the average length of the parts of the axes of symmetry which lie inside the cube?
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?
How can you change the surface area of a cuboid but keep its volume the same? How can you change the volume but keep the surface area the same?
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.