Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg
in a square hole?
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. . . .
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).
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?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
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?
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
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. . . .
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?
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?
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?
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.
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just
touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.
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. . . .
Introducing a geometrical instrument with 3 basic capabilities.
Read all about the number pi and the mathematicians who have tried to find out its value as accurately as possible.
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. . . .
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
This article for pupils gives some examples of how circles have featured in people's lives for centuries.
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?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
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?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Investigate constructible images which contain rational areas.
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. . . .
What is the same and what is different about these circle
questions? What connections can you make?
The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
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. . . .
Where should runners start the 200m race so that they have all run the same distance by the finish?
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?
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?
This article gives an wonderful insight into students working on the Arclets problem that first appeared in the Sept 2002 edition of the NRICH website.
M is any point on the line AB. Squares of side length AM and MB are
constructed and their circumcircles intersect at P (and M). Prove
that the lines AD and BE produced pass through P.
Equal circles can be arranged so that each circle touches four or
six others. What percentage of the plane is covered by circles in
each packing pattern? ...
A metal puzzle which led to some mathematical questions.
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.
Investigate the properties of quadrilaterals which can be drawn
with a circle just touching each side and another circle just
touching each vertex.
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
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.
Construct this design using only compasses
We have four rods of equal lengths hinged at their endpoints to
form a rhombus ABCD. Keeping AB fixed we allow CD to take all
possible positions in the plane. What is the locus (or path) of the
point. . . .
A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret
the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will
be produced using different wheels?
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.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Can Jo make a gym bag for her trainers from the piece of fabric she has?
What shapes should Elly cut out to make a witch's hat? How can she make a taller hat?
In LOGO circles can be described in terms of polygons with an
infinite (in this case large number) of sides - investigate this