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. . . .
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?
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.
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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 smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
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
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?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
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?
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?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
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?
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?
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?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock
face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions
differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Imagine a pyramid which is built in square layers of small cubes. If we number the cubes from the top, starting with 1, can you picture which cubes are directly below this first cube?
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?
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,. . . .
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this junk?
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
Can you make a 3x3 cube with these shapes made from small cubes?
Can you cut up a square in the way shown and make the pieces into a
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this plaque design?
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
Looking at the picture of this Jomista Mat, can you decribe what
you see? Why not try and make one yourself?
Use the lines on this figure to show how the square can be divided into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 6 sixths and 9 ninths.
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming playing the board game?
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
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 outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?