How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube.
Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the
shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.
In the planet system of Octa the planets are arranged in the shape
of an octahedron. How many different routes could be taken to get
from Planet A to Planet Zargon?
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the
information who sat where and what their profession were?
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort
them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we
arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
My briefcase has a three-number combination lock, but I have
forgotten the combination. I remember that there's a 3, a 5 and an
8. How many possible combinations are there to try?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Can you use this information to work out Charlie's house number?
Lorenzie was packing his bag for a school trip. He packed four
shirts and three pairs of pants. "I will be able to have a
different outfit each day", he said. How many days will Lorenzie be
In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way
to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the
kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
I was in my car when I noticed a line of four cars on the lane next
to me with number plates starting and ending with J, K, L and M.
What order were they in?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so if you work in a systematic way, you won't leave any out.
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many
different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and
the 2 must not touch the table?
My cousin was 24 years old on Friday April 5th in 1974. On what day
of the week was she born?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
In this challenge, buckets come in five different sizes. If you choose some buckets, can you investigate the different ways in which they can be filled?
Use the clues to work out which cities Mohamed, Sheng, Tanya and
Bharat live in.
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Can you rearrange the biscuits on the plates so that the three
biscuits on each plate are all different and there is no plate with
two biscuits the same as two biscuits on another plate?
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
The Vikings communicated in writing by making simple scratches on
wood or stones called runes. Can you work out how their code works
using the table of the alphabet?
Systematically explore the range of symmetric designs that can be
created by shading parts of the motif below. Use normal square
lattice paper to record your results.
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
Use the clues to find out who's who in the family, to fill in the family tree and to find out which of the family members are mathematicians and which are not.
Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a
rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle
pieces could there be?
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are
consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight
and 7 a.m.?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the
clues to work out were each person is sitting.
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this
birthday message say?
How many trapeziums, of various sizes, are hidden in this picture?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white
rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They
decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with
each of the others. What was the total number rides?
Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into
five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the
El Crico the cricket has to cross a square patio to get home. He
can jump the length of one tile, two tiles and three tiles. Can you
find a path that would get El Crico home in three jumps?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
Nina must cook some pasta for 15 minutes but she only has a 7-minute sand-timer and an 11-minute sand-timer. How can she use these timers to measure exactly 15 minutes?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.