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When the Angles of a Triangle Don't Add up to 180 Degrees

Stage: 4 and 5

This article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .

Three Cubes

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?

Cuboids

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

The Spider and the Fly

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Painted Cube

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

There and Back Again

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?

Cuboid Challenge

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?

Picturing Square Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

Picturing Triangular Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

An Unusual Shape

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?

Konigsberg Plus

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.

Travelling Salesman

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

A Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start. How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?

Frogs

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?

Diagonal Dodge

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Tourism

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Take Ten

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made from 27 unit cubes so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original 3 by 3 by 3. . . .

Zooming in on the Squares

Stage: 2 and 3

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?

Sea Defences

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall and work out a way they might fit together?

All in the Mind

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Concrete Wheel

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?

Coloured Edges

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Cubic Conundrum

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?

Tetra Square

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Threesomes

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?

Squares, Squares and More Squares

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9, 12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?

One and Three

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Inside Out

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Christmas Chocolates

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

Eight Hidden Squares

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight hidden squares?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?

Cubes Within Cubes Revisited

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?

More Pebbles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.

Auditorium Steps

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?

Seven Squares

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?

Route to Infinity

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?

3D Stacks

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?

Square Coordinates

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

A tilted square is a square with no horizontal sides. Can you devise a general instruction for the construction of a square when you are given just one of its sides?

Efficient Cutting

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Khun Phaen Escapes to Freedom

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.

Sliced

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Dice, Routes and Pathways

Stage: 1, 2 and 3

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. . . .

On the Edge

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Bands and Bridges: Bringing Topology Back

Stage: 2 and 3

Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.

Fence It

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?

Conway's Chequerboard Army

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?

Buses

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

All Tied Up

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?