This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which to help children become better at working systematically.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
Alice and Brian are snails who live on a wall and can only travel along the cracks. Alice wants to go to see Brian. How far is the shortest route along the cracks? Is there more than one way to go?
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the animal names under each column in the block graph using the information?
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of sticks that make the most triangles?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
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?
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?
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
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.
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
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?
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?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of rabbit there are in these pens?
Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5 grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive numbers are joined by a line.
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 jugs.
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?
This problem is based on a code using two different prime numbers less than 10. You'll need to multiply them together and shift the alphabet forwards by the result. Can you decipher the code?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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 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?
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?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal to the area?
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a total of 15!
This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the shapes in the picture?
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
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?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake bar?