Explore this interactivity and see if you can work out what it
does. Could you use it to estimate the area of a shape?
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
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
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. . . .
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?
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
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?
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?
Choose a box and work out the smallest rectangle of paper needed to
wrap it so that it is completely covered.
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled
triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting
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. . . .
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
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.
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?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the
squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the
button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle
now. . . .
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?
How have "Warmsnug" arrived at the prices shown on their windows? Which window has been given an incorrect price?
These rectangles have been torn. How many squares did each one have
inside it before it was ripped?
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
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
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?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg
in a square hole?
Look at the mathematics that is all around us - this circular
window is a wonderful example.
Grandpa was measuring a rug using yards, feet and inches. Can you
help William to work out its area?
This article for teachers gives some food for thought when teaching
ideas about area.
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.
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
Read about David Hilbert who proved that any polygon could be cut up into a certain number of pieces that could be put back together to form any other polygon of equal area.
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.
At the corner of the cube circular arcs are drawn and the area enclosed shaded. What fraction of the surface area of the cube is shaded? Try working out the answer without recourse to pencil and. . . .
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
What fractions of the largest circle are the two shaded regions?