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. . . .
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. . . .
Which hexagons tessellate?
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?
How can you make an angle of 60 degrees by folding a sheet of paper twice?
Can you explain why it is impossible to construct this triangle?
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
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. . . .
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
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.
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares. Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus meet on its way from one end to the other end?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are the same.
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of activities required to develop this thinking.
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
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 Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
In a right angled triangular field, three animals are tethered to posts at the midpoint of each side. Each rope is just long enough to allow the animal to reach two adjacent vertices. Only one animal. . . .
Draw a pentagon with all the diagonals. This is called a pentagram. How many diagonals are there? How many diagonals are there in a hexagram, heptagram, ... Does any pattern occur when looking at. . . .
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.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
You have been given three shapes made out of sponge: a sphere, a cylinder and a cone. Your challenge is to find out how to cut them to make different shapes for printing.
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is the maximum area of the kite?
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP : PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED. What is the area of the triangle PQR?
Can you use small coloured cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of each colour?
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of area.
Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original?