10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There
are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where
are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep
truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be
placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals
have an even number of red counters?
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles
together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can
be fitted together?
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?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work
out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes
could he have taken?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be
removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to
remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
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!
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are
four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can
you find all the ways of doing this?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
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.
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.
Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
Add the sum of the squares of four numbers between 10 and 20 to the
sum of the squares of three numbers less than 6 to make the square
of another, larger, number.
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.
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?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?