In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st,
2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice
about the answers?
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the
result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different
numbers and different rules.
Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the
total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can
you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different ways.
Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number
system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a
look at the multiplications table.
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of
its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant
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?
Investigate this balance which is marked in halves. If you had a weight on the left-hand 7, where could you hang two weights on the right to make it balance?
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?
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
EWWNP means Exploring Wild and Wonderful Number Patterns Created by Yourself! Investigate what happens if we create number patterns using some simple rules.
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
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!
Investigate the different ways these aliens count in this
challenge. You could start by thinking about how each of them would
write our number 7.
Which times on a digital clock have a line of symmetry? Which look
the same upside-down? You might like to try this investigation and
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.
How many different sets of numbers with at least four members can
you find in the numbers in this box?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
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?
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?
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s,
3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange
the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?
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?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
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?
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
Complete these two jigsaws then put one on top of the other. What
happens when you add the 'touching' numbers? What happens when you
change the position of the jigsaws?
Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean
in the context of primary classrooms.
If I use 12 green tiles to represent my lawn, how many different
ways could I arrange them? How many border tiles would I need each
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
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?
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?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
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?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are
you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of
sticks that make the most triangles?
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?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
"Ip dip sky blue! Who's 'it'? It's you!" Where would you position yourself so that you are 'it' if there are two players? Three players ...?
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
This activity asks you to collect information about the birds you
see in the garden. Are there patterns in the data or do the birds
seem to visit randomly?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?