Which hexagons tessellate?
On a clock the three hands - the second, minute and hour hands - are on the same axis. How often in a 24 hour day will the second hand be parallel to either of the two other hands?
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. . . .
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 visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than algebra?
Triangles are formed by joining the vertices of a skeletal cube. How many different types of triangle are there? How many triangles altogether?
Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP must be less than 10 cm.
Draw all the possible distinct triangles on a 4 x 4 dotty grid. Convince me that you have all possible triangles.
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 cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is the most and least number of cubes required ?
A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.
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?
Can you explain why it is impossible to construct this triangle?
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles again?
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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.
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is the maximum area of the kite?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
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?
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?
How can you make an angle of 60 degrees by folding a sheet of paper twice?
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.
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?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
Two intersecting circles have a common chord AB. The point C moves on the circumference of the circle C1. The straight lines CA and CB meet the circle C2 at E and F respectively. As the point C. . . .
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?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?
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?
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?