The net of a cube is to be cut from a sheet of card 100 cm square.
What is the maximum volume cube that can be made from a single
piece of card?
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?
Chris is enjoying a swim but needs to get back for lunch. If she can swim at 3 m/s and run at 7m/sec, how far along the bank should she land in order to get back as quickly as possible?
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 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point
of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the
square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
A ladder 3m long rests against a wall with one end a short distance from its base. Between the wall and the base of a ladder is a garden storage box 1m tall and 1m high. What is the maximum distance. . . .
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
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?
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.
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? ...
Re-arrange the pieces of the puzzle to form a rectangle and then to
form an equilateral triangle. Calculate the angles and lengths.
Shows that Pythagoras for Spherical Triangles reduces to
Pythagoras's Theorem in the plane when the triangles are small
relative to the radius of the sphere.
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
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. . . .
Four circles all touch each other and a circumscribing circle. Find
the ratios of the radii and prove that joining 3 centres gives a
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?
Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?
A ribbon is nailed down with a small amount of slack. What is the
largest cube that can pass under the ribbon ?
In a right-angled tetrahedron prove that the sum of the squares of
the areas of the 3 faces in mutually perpendicular planes equals
the square of the area of the sloping face. A generalisation. . . .
A belt of thin wire, length L, binds together two cylindrical
welding rods, whose radii are R and r, by passing all the way
around them both. Find L in terms of R and r.
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
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
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
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?
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 ?.
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
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?
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.
What remainders do you get when square numbers are divided by 4?
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.
Draw a square and an arc of a circle and construct the Golden
rectangle. Find the value of the Golden Ratio.
What are the shortest distances between the centres of opposite
faces of a regular solid dodecahedron on the surface and through
the middle of the dodecahedron?
Given any three non intersecting circles in the plane find another
circle or straight line which cuts all three circles orthogonally.
Three circular medallions fit in a rectangular box. Can you find the radius of the largest one?
The incircles of 3, 4, 5 and of 5, 12, 13 right angled triangles
have radii 1 and 2 units respectively. What about triangles with an
inradius of 3, 4 or 5 or ...?
A tetrahedron has two identical equilateral triangles faces, of side length 1 unit. The other two faces are right angled isosceles triangles. Find the exact volume of the tetrahedron.
P is a point inside a square ABCD such that PA= 1, PB = 2 and PC =
3. How big is angle APB ?
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. . . .
Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.
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?
The area of a regular pentagon looks about twice as a big as the pentangle star drawn within it. Is it?
Ten squares form regular rings either with adjacent or opposite
vertices touching. Calculate the inner and outer radii of the rings
that surround the squares.
Cut off three right angled isosceles triangles to produce a
pentagon. With two lines, cut the pentagon into three parts which
can be rearranged into another square.
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
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?
The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.
Equal touching circles have centres on a line. From a point of this
line on a circle, a tangent is drawn to the farthest circle. Find
the lengths of chords where the line cuts the other circles.
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.