A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point
of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the
square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
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?
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a
room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest
distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
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?
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The
frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a
jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions
of. . . .
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
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?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
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?
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
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds
leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each
other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return,
400. . . .
ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.
A bicycle passes along a path and leaves some tracks. Is it
possible to say which track was made by the front wheel and which
by the back wheel?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?
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?
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?
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.
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex (corner) and
allowing it to hang freely. Now imagine you are lowering it into
water until it is exactly half submerged. What shape does the
surface. . . .
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post.
There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can
tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem,
but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
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. . . .
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
A circular plate rolls in contact with the sides of a rectangular
tray. How much of its circumference comes into contact with the
sides of the tray when it rolls around one circuit?
An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles.
Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4,
5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?
It is possible to dissect any square into smaller squares. What is
the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
A game for 2 players
Here are four tiles. They can be arranged in a 2 by 2 square so that this large square has a green edge. If the tiles are moved around, we can make a 2 by 2 square with a blue edge... Now try to. . . .
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a
and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two
edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?