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Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.


Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that share their sides.

Little Boxes

How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?

World of Tan 4 - Monday Morning

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This activity follows on from World of Tan 3 - Mah Ling.

It is Monday morning, the start of another week. Three men are approaching the yard of Granma T's removal firm, as they do every day. One man is slightly ahead of the other two who are dawdling.

Here is Wai Ping:

Here is his cousin, Wu Ming:

Lastly, here is Chi Wing, the supervisor:

The oldest man, Chi Wing, turns round to tell the others to hurry up. After all, he is the supervisor and it is his job to make sure everyone else does their jobs.

Wai Ping, the youngest man, continues to whistle and doesn't hear the supervisor. Wu Ming always listens to Chi Wing, and he begins to jog into the office. He then puts the kettle on for tea as he always does at the start of every workday.

Chi Wing and Wai Ping enter the office together and they look at the job sheets for the week. These have been prepared by Mah Ling, who does not arrive for work until later. There are plenty of jobs listed for the next few days, and Wai Ping groans about all the work they've got to do. He is still tired from his weekend, and he isn't looking forward to a hard week of work!

Once the tea has been made, all three workers sit down around the large office table and begin to plan exactly how the jobs for the week are to be done.

In the meantime, complete the silhouettes of all three workers. 

Extra activities:

  • Work out the ages of the workers, using the following information: all three are under 30 years of age; there are four years between the two cousins; there is a decade between the youngest and oldest man; the sum of their ages is a prime number.
  • Make a list of all the people who are in your family - your aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and other family members. Have a go at making a family tree of all your relatives.

The story continues in World of Tan 5 - Dragon.