It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other explorations.
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify predictions.
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
Ana and Ross looked in a trunk in the attic. They found old cloaks and gowns, hats and masks. How many possible costumes could they make?
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you can predict what will happen.
In this investigation, we look at Pascal's Triangle in a slightly different way - rotated and with the top line of ones taken off.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up with the same arrangement?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular arrangements.
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in Cambridge.
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can you investigate all the different possibilities?
There are to be 6 homes built on a new development site. They could be semi-detached, detached or terraced houses. How many different combinations of these can you find?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8 blocks.
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create your own repeating pattern?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
In this investigation, you must try to make houses using cubes. If the base must not spill over 4 squares and you have 7 cubes which stand for 7 rooms, what different designs can you come up with?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can you investigate patios of different sizes?
In my local town there are three supermarkets which each has a special deal on some products. If you bought all your shopping in one shop, where would be the cheapest?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
This challenge asks you to investigate the total number of cards that would be sent if four children send one to all three others. How many would be sent if there were five children? Six?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds so find out which we might have bought.
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you find for me to take?
Sort the houses in my street into different groups. Can you do it in any other ways?
How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are next to each other in any direction?
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
We think this 3x3 version of the game is often harder than the 5x5 version. Do you agree? If so, why do you think that might be?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean in the context of primary classrooms.
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
Can you create more models that follow these rules?