What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
These rectangles have been torn. How many squares did each one have
inside it before it was ripped?
Nine squares with side lengths 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, and 18 cm can be fitted together to form a rectangle. What are the dimensions of the rectangle?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
If I use 12 green tiles to represent my lawn, how many different
ways could I arrange them? How many border tiles would I need each
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the
lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios 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?
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.
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?
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?
I cut this square into two different shapes. What can you say about
the relationship between them?
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled
triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting
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?
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?
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
Choose a box and work out the smallest rectangle of paper needed to
wrap it so that it is completely covered.
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
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
Place four pebbles on the sand in the form of a square. Keep adding as few pebbles as necessary to double the area. How many extra pebbles are added each time?
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
A hallway floor is tiled and each tile is one foot square. Given
that the number of tiles around the perimeter is EXACTLY half the
total number of tiles, find the possible dimensions of the hallway.
This article for teachers gives some food for thought when teaching
ideas about area.
How would you move the bands on the pegboard to alter these shapes?
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.
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.
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. . . .
Use the information on these cards to draw the shape that is being described.
A simple visual exploration into halving and doubling.
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
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?
How have "Warmsnug" arrived at the prices shown on their windows? Which window has been given an incorrect price?
Explore this interactivity and see if you can work out what it
does. Could you use it to estimate the area of a shape?
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
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.
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?
Grandpa was measuring a rug using yards, feet and inches. Can you
help William to work out its area?
Look at the mathematics that is all around us - this circular
window is a wonderful example.