My measurements have got all jumbled up! Swap them around and see
if you can find a combination where every measurement is valid.
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
Can you rank these sets of quantities in order, from smallest to largest? Can you provide convincing evidence for your rankings?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
These pictures were made by starting with a square, finding the
half-way point on each side and joining those points up. You could
investigate your own starting shape.
What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame
without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you
try the other shapes?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled
triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of
the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other
shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
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. . . .
Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5
grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand
point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
In this game for two players, you throw two dice and find the product. How many shapes can you draw on the grid which have that area or perimeter?
These rectangles have been torn. How many squares did each one have
inside it before it was ripped?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
My local DIY shop calculates the price of its windows according to the area of glass and the length of frame used. Can you work out how they arrived at these prices?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
What shape has Harry drawn on this clock face? Can you find its
area? What is the largest number of square tiles that could cover
This article for teachers gives some food for thought when teaching
ideas about area.
Explore this interactivity and see if you can work out what it
does. Could you use it to estimate the area of a shape?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Look at the mathematics that is all around us - this circular
window is a wonderful example.
Points P, Q, R and S each divide the sides AB, BC, CD and DA respectively in the ratio of 2 : 1. Join the points. What is the area of the parallelogram PQRS in relation to the original rectangle?
Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
Have a good look at these images. Can you describe what is happening? There are plenty more images like this on NRICH's Exploring Squares CD.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Grandpa was measuring a rug using yards, feet and inches. Can you
help William to work out its area?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
This rectangle is cut into five pieces which fit exactly into a triangular outline and also into a square outline where the triangle, the rectangle and the square have equal areas.
Can you work out the area of the inner square and give an
explanation of how you did it?
It is possible to dissect any square into smaller squares. What is
the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
You have pitched your tent (the red triangle) on an island. Can you
move it to the position shown by the purple triangle making sure
you obey the rules?
Use the information on these cards to draw the shape that is being described.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Choose a box and work out the smallest rectangle of paper needed to
wrap it so that it is completely covered.
Explore one of these five pictures.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The
frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a
jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions
of. . . .
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.