It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
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?
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?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
The diagram shows a 5 by 5 geoboard with 25 pins set out in a square array. Squares are made by stretching rubber bands round specific pins. What is the total number of squares that can be made on a. . . .
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
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.
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of
adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain
why and prove it?
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down
all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur
most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 × 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so for. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players
take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single
pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
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.
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a
factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and
16 is a factor of 48.
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?
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
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?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering
the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way
that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
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 tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter (p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship between p, i and the area of the polygons.
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?