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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Practical Activity

Fit These Shapes

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you try the other shapes?

Fencing

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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.

Triangle Shapes

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns with two different types of triangle. You could even try overlapping them.

The Numbers Give the Design

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.

Repeating Patterns

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create your own repeating pattern?

Seven Sticks

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Explore the triangles that can be made with seven sticks of the same length.

Cutting Corners

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a special way?

Baked Bean Cans

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Is there a best way to stack cans? What do different supermarkets do? How high can you safely stack the cans?

Escher Tessellations

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.

It's a Fence!

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular arrangements.

Halving

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

These pictures show squares split into halves. Can you find other ways?

Four Layers

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you create more models that follow these rules?

Cover the Tray

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.

How Tall?

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?

Triangle Relations

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?

Polydron

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.

Making Longer, Making Shorter

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Ahmed is making rods using different numbers of cubes. Which rod is twice the length of his first rod?

Two on Five

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

Tri.'s

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?

Dienes' Logiblocs

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the shapes in the picture?

Little Boxes

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?

Two Squared

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?

Dice Stairs

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?

Square Corners

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?

Four Colours

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.

Egyptian Rope

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?

Creating Cubes

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.

Tangram Tangle

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?

Domino Sets

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?

Cereal Packets

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?

Two by One

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.

Shaping Up

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?

Cuboid-in-a-box

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?

Putting Two and Two Together

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can be fitted together?

Seven Flipped

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.

Sizing Them Up

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Can you put these shapes in order of size? Start with the smallest.

Sticks and Triangles

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

Order the Changes

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?

Making Cuboids

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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?

Three Sets of Cubes, Two Surfaces

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How many models can you find which obey these rules?

A City of Towers

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

In this town, houses are built with one room for each person. There are some families of seven people living in the town. In how many different ways can they build their houses?

Map Folding

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold it up?

Pyramid Numbers

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What are the next three numbers in this sequence? Can you explain why are they called pyramid numbers?

Little Man

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

The Man is much smaller than us. Can you use the picture of him next to a mug to estimate his height and how much tea he drinks?

Chairs and Tables

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Make a chair and table out of interlocking cubes, making sure that the chair fits under the table!

Two-digit Targets

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

You have a set of the digits from 0 – 9. Can you arrange these in the five boxes to make two-digit numbers as close to the targets as possible?

Tricky Triangles

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?

Folding, Cutting and Punching

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and making spirals.