P is a point on the circumference of a circle radius r which rolls, without slipping, inside a circle of radius 2r. What is the locus of P?
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.
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
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?
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.
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. . . .
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem, but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
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?
The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design...
This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times you. . . .
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?
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?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
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. . . .
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 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.
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
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 players
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
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?
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.
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.
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
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.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
What is the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected into?
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?
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know when it is your turn to ring?
Points P, Q, R and S each divide the sides AB, BC, CD and DA respectively in the ratio of 2 : 1. Join the points. What is the area of the parallelogram PQRS in relation to the original rectangle?