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? ...
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 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
Given any three non intersecting circles in the plane find another
circle or straight line which cuts all three circles orthogonally.
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.
I keep three circular medallions in a rectangular box in which they
just fit with each one touching the other two. The smallest one has
radius 4 cm and touches one side of the box, the middle sized. . . .
A point moves around inside a rectangle. What are the least and the
greatest values of the sum of the squares of the distances from the
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
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 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 small circle fits between two touching circles so that all three
circles touch each other and have a common tangent? What is the
exact radius of the smallest circle?
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 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. . . .
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?
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 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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
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. . . .
The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.
The area of a regular pentagon looks about twice as a big as the pentangle star drawn within it. Is it?
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 ...?
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.
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
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?
P is a point inside a square ABCD such that PA= 1, PB = 2 and PC =
3. How big is angle APB ?
Four circles all touch each other and a circumscribing circle. Find
the ratios of the radii and prove that joining 3 centres gives a
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.
Stick some cubes together to make a cuboid. Find two of the angles
by as many different methods as you can devise.
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.
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.
ABCD is a rectangle and P, Q, R and S are moveable points on the
edges dividing the edges in certain ratios. Strangely PQRS is
always a cyclic quadrilateral and you can find the angles.
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?
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
The ten arcs forming the edges of the "holly leaf" are all arcs of
circles of radius 1 cm. Find the length of the perimeter of the
holly leaf and the area of its surface.
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?
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
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!
If a ball is rolled into the corner of a room how far is its centre
from the corner?
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. . . .
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
Re-arrange the pieces of the puzzle to form a rectangle and then to
form an equilateral triangle. Calculate the angles and lengths.