Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg
in a square hole?
A farmer has a field which is the shape of a trapezium as
illustrated below. To increase his profits he wishes to grow two
different crops. To do this he would like to divide the field into
two. . . .
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
Straight lines are drawn from each corner of a square to the mid
points of the opposite sides. Express the area of the octagon that
is formed at the centre as a fraction of the area of the square.
A trapezium is divided into four triangles by its diagonals.
Suppose the two triangles containing the parallel sides have areas
a and b, what is the area of the trapezium?
Manufacturers need to minimise the amount of material used to make
their product. What is the best cross-section for a gutter?
A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find
the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the
Investigate the properties of quadrilaterals which can be drawn
with a circle just touching each side and another circle just
touching each vertex.
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
What is the area of the quadrilateral APOQ? Working on the building
blocks will give you some insights that may help you to work it
What happens to the area and volume of 2D and 3D shapes when you
This article, written for teachers, discusses the merits of
different kinds of resources: those which involve exploration and
those which centre on calculation.
A tower of squares is built inside a right angled isosceles
triangle. The largest square stands on the hypotenuse. What
fraction of the area of the triangle is covered by the series of
Prove that a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 6 has the same area as a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 8. Find other pairs of non-congruent isosceles triangles which have equal areas.
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
A circle with the radius of 2.2 centimetres is drawn touching the sides of a square. What area of the square is NOT covered by the circle?
Investigate how this pattern of squares continues. You could
measure lengths, areas and angles.
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.
What is the shape and dimensions of a box that will contain six cups and have as small a surface area as possible.
Can you choose your units so that a cube has the same numerical value for it volume, surface area and total edge length?
If the base of a rectangle is increased by 10% and the area is
unchanged, by what percentage (exactly) is the width decreased by ?
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.
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
How can you change the area of a shape but keep its perimeter the same? How can you change the perimeter but keep the area the same?
An activity for high-attaining learners which involves making a new cylinder from a cardboard tube.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
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?
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?
A task which depends on members of the group noticing the needs of
others and responding.
Explore one of these five pictures.
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Follow the instructions and you can take a rectangle, cut it into 4 pieces, discard two small triangles, put together the remaining two pieces and end up with a rectangle the same size. Try it!
I'm thinking of a rectangle with an area of 24. What could its perimeter be?
Four quadrants are drawn centred at the vertices of a square . Find
the area of the central region bounded by the four arcs.
Investigate the different ways of cutting a perfectly circular pie into equal pieces using exactly 3 cuts. The cuts have to be along chords of the circle (which might be diameters).
Take a sheet of A4 paper and place it in landscape format. Fold up the bottom left corner to the top so the double thickness is a 45,45,90 triangle. Fold up the bottom right corner to meet the. . . .
Can you find a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral
triangles drawn on an isometric grid?
Can you work out the area of the inner square and give an
explanation of how you did it?
Prove that the area of a quadrilateral is given by half the product of the lengths of the diagonals multiplied by the sine of the angle between the diagonals.
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle ABCD. A circle passing through points ABCD carves out four crescent-shaped regions. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to. . . .
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an
isosceles, right angle triangle?
In the four examples below identical squares of side one unit contain some circles shaded blue. In which of the four examples is the shaded area greatest?
You have a 12 by 9 foot carpet with an 8 by 1 foot hole exactly in
the middle. Cut the carpet into two pieces to make a 10 by 10 foot
What fractions of the largest circle are the two shaded regions?
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. . . .
Determine the total shaded area of the 'kissing triangles'.
Bluey-green, white and transparent squares with a few odd bits of
shapes around the perimeter. But, how many squares are there of
each type in the complete circle? Study the picture and make. . . .
How have "Warmsnug" arrived at the prices shown on their windows? Which window has been given an incorrect price?
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?