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.
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 models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
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.
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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 activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
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.
This was a problem for our birthday website. Can you use four of these pieces to form a square? How about making a square with all five pieces?
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?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
This practical investigation invites you to make tessellating
shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most
unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
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?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
In this article for teachers, Bernard uses some problems to suggest
that once a numerical pattern has been spotted from a practical
starting point, going back to the practical can help explain. . . .
NRICH December 2006 advent calendar - a new tangram for each day in
the run-up to Christmas.
Our 2008 Advent Calendar has a 'Making Maths' activity for every
day in the run-up to Christmas.
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice?
How could you sort the cards?
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular
fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular
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?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
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.
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns
with two different types of triangle. You could even try
Kaia is sure that her father has worn a particular tie twice a week
in at least five of the last ten weeks, but her father disagrees.
Who do you think is right?
Follow the diagrams to make this patchwork piece, based on an
octagon in a square.
If you'd like to know more about Primary Maths Masterclasses, this
is the package to read! Find out about current groups in your
region or how to set up your own.
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
How is it possible to predict the card?
Ideas for practical ways of representing data such as Venn and
Here are some ideas to try in the classroom for using counters to investigate number patterns.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc
BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why
this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this telephone?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming playing the board game?