This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will be produced using different wheels?
This problem invites you to build 3D shapes using two different triangles. Can you make the shapes from the pictures?
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
A game for 1 person. Can you work out how the dice must be rolled from the start position to the finish? Play on line.
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall and work out a way they might fit together?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
A useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking about the formulae needed for generating the results on a spreadsheet.
Here are the six faces of a cube - in no particular order. Here are three views of the cube. Can you deduce where the faces are in relation to each other and record them on the net of this cube?
Each of the nets of nine solid shapes has been cut into two pieces. Can you see which pieces go together?
An extension of noughts and crosses in which the grid is enlarged and the length of the winning line can to altered to 3, 4 or 5.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
A game for 2 players. Given a board of dots in a grid pattern, players take turns drawing a line by connecting 2 adjacent dots. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this shape. How would you describe it?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this brazier for roasting chestnuts?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these people?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Fung at the table?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming playing the board game?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this telephone?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?
How can the same pieces of the tangram make this bowl before and after it was chipped? Use the interactivity to try and work out what is going on!
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Granma T?
Make a flower design using the same shape made out of different sizes of paper.
Can you work out what shape is made by folding in this way? Why not create some patterns using this shape but in different sizes?
Can you work out what is wrong with the cogs on a UK 2 pound coin?
Imagine a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. If you and a friend drill holes in some of the small cubes in the ways described, how many will have holes drilled through them?
Can you visualise what shape this piece of paper will make when it is folded?
This second article in the series refers to research about levels of development of spatial thinking and the possible influence of instruction.
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?