Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
Sort the frieze patterns into seven pairs according to the way in
which the motif is repeated.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
A security camera, taking pictures each half a second, films a
cyclist going by. In the film, the cyclist appears to go forward
while the wheels appear to go backwards. Why?
This article for teachers suggests ideas for activities built around 10 and 2010.
Proofs that there are only seven frieze patterns involve complicated group theory. The symmetries of a cylinder provide an easier approach.
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating
shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72
I noticed this about streamers that have rotation symmetry : if
there was one centre of rotation there always seems to be a second
centre that also worked. Can you find a design that has only. . . .
A gallery of beautiful photos of cast ironwork friezes in Australia with a mathematical discussion of the classification of frieze patterns.
My train left London between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and arrived in Paris
between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. At the start and end of the journey the
hands on my watch were in exactly the same positions but the. . . .
See the effects of some combined transformations on a shape. Can
you describe what the individual transformations do?
Two circles of equal radius touch at P. One circle is fixed whilst the other moves, rolling without slipping, all the way round. How many times does the moving coin revolve before returning to P?
This resources contains a series of interactivities designed to
support work on transformations at Key Stage 4.
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right
angled triangle about the hypotenuse?
Points off a rolling wheel make traces. What makes those traces
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 many different transformations can you find made up from
combinations of R, S and their inverses? Can you be sure that you
have found them all?
Triangle ABC has equilateral triangles drawn on its edges. Points
P, Q and R are the centres of the equilateral triangles. What can
you prove about the triangle PQR?
Does changing the order of transformations always/sometimes/never
produce the same transformation?
Look carefully at the video of a tangle and explain what's
This article describes the scope for practical exploration of tessellations both in and out of the classroom. It seems a golden opportunity to link art with maths, allowing the creative side of your. . . .
Plex lets you specify a mapping between points and their images.
Then you can draw and see the transformed image.
A triangle ABC resting on a horizontal line is "rolled" along the
line. Describe the paths of each of the vertices and the
relationships between them and the original triangle.
Overlaying pentominoes can produce some effective patterns. Why not
use LOGO to try out some of the ideas suggested here?
How can you use twizzles to multiply and divide?
Why not challenge a friend to play this transformation game?
A white cross is placed symmetrically in a red disc with the central square of side length sqrt 2 and the arms of the cross of length 1 unit. What is the area of the disc still showing?
The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design. Coins inserted into the machine slide down a chute into the machine and a drink is duly. . . .
Can you describe what happens in this film?
A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
A design is repeated endlessly along a line - rather like a stream
of paper coming off a roll. Make a strip that matches itself after
rotation, or after reflection
Introduces the idea of a twizzle to represent number and asks how
one can use this representation to add and subtract geometrically.
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
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. . . .
Arrow arithmetic, but with a twist.
Rotate a copy of the trapezium about the centre of the longest side
of the blue triangle to make a square. Find the area of the square
and then derive a formula for the area of the trapezium.
The first part of an investigation into how to represent numbers
using geometric transformations that ultimately leads us to
discover numbers not on the number line.
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc
BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why
this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the
driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly
over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?