Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
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 ?
An introduction to bond angle geometry.
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?
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?
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What
movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of
procedures will help - variables not essential.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
How can you make an angle of 60 degrees by folding a sheet of paper
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?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be
folded into a cube.
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top,
put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you
predict the last card?
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?
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?
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. . . .
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
If all the faces of a tetrahedron have the same perimeter then show that they are all congruent.
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
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?
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?
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
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.
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?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .
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. . . .
A and C are the opposite vertices of a square ABCD, and have
coordinates (a,b) and (c,d), respectively. What are the coordinates
of the vertices B and D? What is the area of the square?
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?
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!
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. . . .
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
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.
Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can
you do it in more than one way?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
You have 27 small cubes, 3 each of nine colours. Use the small cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of every colour.
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?
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. . . .
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
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. . . .
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?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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. . . .