Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is
the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images
help to explain this?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you
move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up
with the same arrangement?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight
from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by
99 square board?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable.
Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with
a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a
layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Can you dissect an equilateral triangle into 6 smaller ones? What
number of smaller equilateral triangles is it NOT possible to
dissect a larger equilateral triangle into?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which
seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the
foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9,
12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Draw a square. A second square of the same size slides around the
first always maintaining contact and keeping the same orientation.
How far does the dot travel?
In this problem we are looking at sets of parallel sticks that
cross each other. What is the least number of crossings you can
make? And the greatest?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Watch this video to see how to roll the dice. Now it's your turn! What do you notice about the dice numbers you have recorded?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
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?