Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16
pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these
pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
There are ten children in Becky's group. Can you find a set of
numbers for each of them? Are there any other sets?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
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?
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
These caterpillars have 16 parts. What different shapes do they make if each part lies in the small squares of a 4 by 4 square?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
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?
In this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone
numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a
sequence adding 2 each time?
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!
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?
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?
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square
tiles of different sizes?
Investigate the numbers that come up on a die as you roll it in the
direction of north, south, east and west, without going over the
path it's already made.
Write the numbers up to 64 in an interesting way so that the shape they make at the end is interesting, different, more exciting ... than just a square.
How many different sets of numbers with at least four members can
you find in the numbers in this box?
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
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?
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways that this can be done?
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
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.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
Take a look at these data collected by children in 1986 as part of the Domesday Project. What do they tell you? What do you think about the way they are presented?
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
Sort the houses in my street into different groups. Can you do it in any other ways?
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?
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?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
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?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Here is your chance to investigate the number 28 using shapes,
cubes ... in fact anything at all.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant