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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 17 - Weather

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This activity follows on from World of Tan 16 - Time Flies.

Little Ming and Little Fung suddenly burst in on Granma T, who is dozing in front of the fire.
Little Ming: Granma T, Granma T! We've just been watching the news. It said that the UK has had the wettest January and February since records began.

Little Fung: There are pictures of floods all over England. Some in a place called Kent. And some around Cambridge.

Little Ming: There are 48 flood warnings on rivers in Britain. Water is everywhere. Running into people's homes and businesses!

Little Fung: We've seen cars and vans stranded in what look like lakes and ponds.

Little Ming: Their meadows are now just like our paddy fields.

Little Fung: The animals are stranded and they say that the crops can't grow. Can this be true? Isn't water good for plants?

Little Ming: One man was rowing out to rescue some sheep that were stuck on some higher ground.

Little Fung: Instead of driving down the road, people were going up to the houses in small boats. Firemen were helping older people get out through their windows, and they rescued some people who were stranded on their roof!

Little Ming: There was one incredible picture - it showed a railway station, but you couldn't see the train lines. It looked just like the canal down by Huang Ti's hardware store.

Little Fung: Phew, thank goodness our rainy season won't start for a few more months.

Granma T: When you two have finally finished... Go and get ready for bed!

In the meantime, complete the silhouette of a house that has been flooded.

Extra activities:
  • Find out how much rain fell during last January and February where you live.
  • Why do you think we measure rainfall in millimetres, when we normally measure water in litres and millilitres?

The story continues in World of Tan 18 - Soup.