A ribbon is nailed down with a small amount of slack. What is the
largest cube that can pass under the ribbon ?
Is the sum of the squares of two opposite sloping edges of a
rectangular based pyramid equal to the sum of the squares of the
other two sloping edges?
Three circular medallions fit in a rectangular box. Can you find the radius of the largest one?
If the hypotenuse (base) length is 100cm and if an extra line
splits the base into 36cm and 64cm parts, what were the side
lengths for the original right-angled triangle?
A dot starts at the point (1,0) and turns anticlockwise. Can you estimate the height of the dot after it has turned through 45 degrees? Can you calculate its height?
A circle touches the lines OA, OB and AB where OA and OB are perpendicular. Show that the diameter of the circle is equal to the perimeter of the triangle
Equal circles can be arranged so that each circle touches four or
six others. What percentage of the plane is covered by circles in
each packing pattern? ...
Six circular discs are packed in different-shaped boxes so that the
discs touch their neighbours and the sides of the box. Can you put
the boxes in order according to the areas of their bases?
The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is, satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in a circle with a unit radius?
If the altitude of an isosceles triangle is 8 units and the perimeter of the triangle is 32 units.... What is the area of the triangle?
Draw two circles, each of radius 1 unit, so that each circle goes
through the centre of the other one. What is the area of the
The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF.
Similarly the largest. . . .
Three squares are drawn on the sides of a triangle ABC. Their areas
are respectively 18 000, 20 000 and 26 000 square centimetres. If
the outer vertices of the squares are joined, three more. . . .
The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!
Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.
If a ball is rolled into the corner of a room how far is its centre
from the corner?
Two semi-circles (each of radius 1/2) touch each other, and a semi-circle of radius 1 touches both of them. Find the radius of the circle which touches all three semi-circles.
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle ABCD. A circle passing through points ABCD carves out four crescent-shaped regions. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to. . . .
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.
Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?
Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB
and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q
such that APCQ is a rhombus.
You are given a circle with centre O. Describe how to construct with a straight edge and a pair of compasses, two other circles centre O so that the three circles have areas in the ratio 1:2:3.
A 1 metre cube has one face on the ground and one face against a
wall. A 4 metre ladder leans against the wall and just touches the
cube. How high is the top of the ladder above the ground?
A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?
A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find
the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the
It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?
A fire-fighter needs to fill a bucket of water from the river and
take it to a fire. What is the best point on the river bank for the
fire-fighter to fill the bucket ?.
Liethagoras, Pythagoras' cousin (!), was jealous of Pythagoras and came up with his own theorem. Read this article to find out why other mathematicians laughed at him.
Find the sides of an equilateral triangle ABC where a trapezium
BCPQ is drawn with BP=CQ=2 , PQ=1 and AP+AQ=sqrt7 . Note: there are
2 possible interpretations.
How many right-angled triangles are there with sides that are all
integers less than 100 units?
Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .
ABC and DEF are equilateral triangles of side 3 and 4 respectively. Construct an equilateral triangle whose area is the sum of the area of ABC and DEF.
A tennis ball is served from directly above the baseline (assume
the ball travels in a straight line). What is the minimum height
that the ball can be hit at to ensure it lands in the service area?
The area of a regular pentagon looks about twice as a big as the pentangle star drawn within it. Is it?
Prove that a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 6 has the same area as a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 8. Find other pairs of non-congruent isosceles triangles which have equal areas.
Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a
square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked
with dots lie on one line?
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an
isosceles, right angle triangle?
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
Medieval stonemasons used a method to construct octagons using ruler and compasses... Is the octagon regular? Proof please.
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a
room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest
distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
This article for pupils and teachers looks at a number that even the great mathematician, Pythagoras, found terrifying.
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?