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.

Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.

Imagine a rectangular tray lying flat on a table. Suppose that a plate lies on the tray and rolls around, in contact with the sides as it rolls. What can we say about the motion?

Introducing a geometrical instrument with 3 basic capabilities.

This pattern of six circles contains three unit circles. Work out the radii of the other three circles and the relationship between them.

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.

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?

What is the sum of the angles of a triangle whose sides are circular arcs on a flat surface? What if the triangle is on the surface of a sphere?

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?

The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF. Similarly the largest. . . .

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. . . .

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?

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 same radius.

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? ...

See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.

For any right-angled triangle find the radii of the three escribed circles touching the sides of the triangle externally.

Three semi-circles have a common diameter, each touches the other two and two lie inside the biggest one. What is the radius of the circle that touches all three semi-circles?

Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?

What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?

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

What is the same and what is different about these circle questions? What connections can you make?

Four circles all touch each other and a circumscribing circle. Find the ratios of the radii and prove that joining 3 centres gives a 3-4-5 triangle.

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.

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 metal puzzle which led to some mathematical questions.

By inscribing a circle in a square and then a square in a circle find an approximation to pi. By using a hexagon, can you improve on the approximation?

Draw three equal line segments in a unit circle to divide the circle into four parts of equal area.

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. . . .

The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.

What shapes should Elly cut out to make a witch's hat? How can she make a taller hat?

If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.

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 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?

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?

A spiropath is a sequence of connected line segments end to end taking different directions. The same spiropath is iterated. When does it cycle and when does it go on indefinitely?

Given any three non intersecting circles in the plane find another circle or straight line which cuts all three circles orthogonally.

Triangle ABC has altitudes h1, h2 and h3. The radius of the inscribed circle is r, while the radii of the escribed circles are r1, r2 and r3 respectively. Prove: 1/r = 1/h1 + 1/h2 + 1/h3 = 1/r1 +. . . .

Ten squares form regular rings either with adjacent or opposite vertices touching. Calculate the inner and outer radii of the rings that surround the squares.

If a is the radius of the axle, b the radius of each ball-bearing, and c the radius of the hub, why does the number of ball bearings n determine the ratio c/a? Find a formula for c/a in terms of n.

Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.

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.

Explore when it is possible to construct a circle which just touches all four sides of a quadrilateral.

A small circle fits between two touching circles so that all three circles touch each other and have a common tangent? What is the exact radius of the smallest circle?

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?

Two perpendicular lines are tangential to two identical circles that touch. What is the largest circle that can be placed in between the two lines and the two circles and how would you construct it?

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.

Can Jo make a gym bag for her trainers from the piece of fabric she has?