Imagine a pyramid which is built in square layers of small cubes. If we number the cubes from the top, starting with 1, can you picture which cubes are directly below this first cube?
Can you make a cycle of pairs that add to make a square number
using all the numbers in the box below, once and once only?
Choose a symbol to put into the number sentence.
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3
cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue
cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
Starting with the number 180, take away 9 again and again, joining up the dots as you go. Watch out - don't join all the dots!
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
If you have only four weights, where could you place them in order
to balance this equaliser?
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
Start by putting one million (1 000 000) into the display of your
calculator. Can you reduce this to 7 using just the 7 key and add,
subtract, multiply, divide and equals as many times as you like?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Add the sum of the squares of four numbers between 10 and 20 to the
sum of the squares of three numbers less than 6 to make the square
of another, larger, number.
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
Katie had a pack of 20 cards numbered from 1 to 20. She arranged
the cards into 6 unequal piles where each pile added to the same
total. What was the total and how could this be done?
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is
numerical, one geometric.
Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be
put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways
that this can be done?
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
Tim had nine cards each with a different number from 1 to 9 on it.
How could he have put them into three piles so that the total in
each pile was 15?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of
three children. Use the information to find out what the three
This dice train has been made using specific rules. How many different trains can you make?
Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears,
yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways
could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and
lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children
buy with their money?
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
Place this "worm" on the 100 square and find the total of the four
squares it covers. Keeping its head in the same place, what other
totals can you make?
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Three children are going to buy some plants for their birthdays. They will plant them within circular paths. How could they do this?
Place six toy ladybirds into the box so that there are two ladybirds in every column and every row.
Write the numbers up to 64 in an interesting way so that the shape they make at the end is interesting, different, more exciting ... than just a square.
A group of children are using measuring cylinders but they lose the
labels. Can you help relabel them?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
This problem is based on a code using two different prime numbers
less than 10. You'll need to multiply them together and shift the
alphabet forwards by the result. Can you decipher the code?
Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the
totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?