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?
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. . . .
Points A, B and C are the centres of three circles, each one of which touches the other two. Prove that the perimeter of the triangle ABC is equal to the diameter of the largest circle.
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?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
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).
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. . . .
What fractions of the largest circle are the two shaded regions?
This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship
between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on
AB as diameter?
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
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
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
A circle touches the lines OA, OB and AB where OA and OB are
perpendicular. Show that the diameter of the circle is equal to the
perimeter of the triangle
Triangle ABC is right angled at A and semi circles are drawn on all three sides producing two 'crescents'. Show that the sum of the areas of the two crescents equals the area of triangle ABC.
Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg
in a square hole?
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Two semicircle sit on the diameter of a semicircle centre O of
twice their radius. Lines through O divide the perimeter into two
parts. What can you say about the lengths of these two parts?
Two circles are enclosed by a rectangle 12 units by x units. The distance between the centres of the two circles is x/3 units. How big is x?
In a right angled triangular field, three animals are tethered to posts at the midpoint of each side. Each rope is just long enough to allow the animal to reach two adjacent vertices. Only one animal. . . .
A floor is covered by a tessellation of equilateral triangles, each having three equal arcs inside it. What proportion of the area of the tessellation is shaded?
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 efficiently can you pack together disks?
Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3
touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to
construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?
Introducing a geometrical instrument with 3 basic capabilities.
A white cross is placed symmetrically in a red disc with the central square of side length sqrt 2 and the arms of the cross of length 1 unit. What is the area of the disc still showing?
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
This article for pupils gives some examples of how circles have featured in people's lives for centuries.
Read all about the number pi and the mathematicians who have tried to find out its value as accurately as possible.
Investigate the properties of quadrilaterals which can be drawn
with a circle just touching each side and another circle just
touching each vertex.
Two semi-circles (each of radius 1/2) touch each other, and a semi-circle of radius 1 touches both of them. Find the radius of the circle which touches all three semi-circles.
The three corners of a triangle are sitting on a circle. The angles
are called Angle A, Angle B and Angle C. The dot in the middle of
the circle shows the centre. The counter is measuring the size. . . .
Given a square ABCD of sides 10 cm, and using the corners as
centres, construct four quadrants with radius 10 cm each inside the
square. The four arcs intersect at P, Q, R and S. Find the. . . .
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are
the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it
rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Where should runners start the 200m race so that they have all run the same distance by the finish?
What shapes should Elly cut out to make a witch's hat? How can she make a taller hat?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Thinking of circles as polygons with an infinite number of sides -
but how does this help us with our understanding of the
circumference of circle as pi x d? This challenge investigates. . . .
Construct this design using only compasses
Investigate constructible images which contain rational areas.
A metal puzzle which led to some mathematical questions.
Can Jo make a gym bag for her trainers from the piece of fabric she has?
Learn how to draw circles using Logo. Wait a minute! Are they really circles? If not what are they?
Can you reproduce the design comprising a series of concentric
circles? Test your understanding of the realtionship betwwn the
circumference and diameter of a circle.
In LOGO circles can be described in terms of polygons with an
infinite (in this case large number) of sides - investigate this
The ten arcs forming the edges of the "holly leaf" are all arcs of
circles of radius 1 cm. Find the length of the perimeter of the
holly leaf and the area of its surface.