This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .
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 is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
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.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train can continue its journey?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover an eight by eight chessboard?
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals have an even number of red counters?
Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
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?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back together?
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?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?
What is the least number of moves you can take to rearrange the bears so that no bear is next to a bear of the same colour?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes could he have taken?
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?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up with the same arrangement?
Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10 are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the largest possible number of houses in the square?
One face of a regular tetrahedron is painted blue and each of the remaining faces are painted using one of the colours red, green or yellow. How many different possibilities are there?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?
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?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these people?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
This article for teachers describes how modelling number properties involving multiplication using an array of objects not only allows children to represent their thinking with concrete materials,. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?