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 into?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
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?
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 maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
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?
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. . . .
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
A 3x3x3 cube may be reduced to unit cubes in six saw cuts. If after every cut you can rearrange the pieces before cutting straight through, can you do it in fewer?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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. . . .
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.
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.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
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?
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?
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?
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. . . .
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
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. . . .
A cylindrical helix is just a spiral on a cylinder, like an ordinary spring or the thread on a bolt. If I turn a left-handed helix over (top to bottom) does it become a right handed helix?
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?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
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?
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. . . .
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
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.
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
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?
In the game of Noughts and Crosses there are 8 distinct winning lines. How many distinct winning lines are there in a game played on a 3 by 3 by 3 board, with 27 cells?
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
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?
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 useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking about the formulae needed for generating the results on a spreadsheet.
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?
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. . . .
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
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 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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?