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.
In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s, 3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?
"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 ...?
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 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.
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
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
If the answer's 2010, what could the question be?
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?
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?
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?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these
tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why
Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral
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.
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.
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.
How many tiles do we need to tile these patios?
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
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?
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?
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.
When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a
straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
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 the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What
would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start
Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street
in different 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?
Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the
paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles
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?
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?
These pictures were made by starting with a square, finding the half-way point on each side and joining those points up. You could investigate your own starting shape.
Follow the directions for circling numbers in the matrix. Add all
the circled numbers together. Note your answer. Try again with a
different starting number. What do you notice?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? What do you think is happening to the numbers?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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?
48 is called an abundant number because it is less than the sum of its factors (without itself). Can you find some more abundant numbers?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can
you investigate patios of different sizes?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify