If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that
they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can
you investigate all the different possibilities?
The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence
to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8
Ana and Ross looked in a trunk in the attic. They found old cloaks
and gowns, hats and masks. How many possible costumes could they
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.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How
will you know you've found them all?
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?
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal
to the area?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper
to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
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?
This multiplication uses each of the digits 0 - 9 once and once only. Using the information given, can you replace the stars in the calculation with figures?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
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?
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?
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
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area
around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.
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.
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
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
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?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
In this game for two players, you throw two dice and find the product. How many shapes can you draw on the grid which have that area or perimeter?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn
and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
My local DIY shop calculates the price of its windows according to the area of glass and the length of frame used. Can you work out how they arrived at these prices?
Can you complete this calculation by filling in the missing numbers? In how many different ways can you do it?
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
Have a go at balancing this equation. Can you find different ways of doing it?
Use two dice to generate two numbers with one decimal place. What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
Can you work out some different ways to balance this equation?
What happens when you round these three-digit numbers to the nearest 100?