These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16 pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same properties?
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
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?
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?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
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?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?
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?
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. . . .
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
Can you create jigsaw pieces which are based on a square shape, with at least one peg and one hole?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
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?
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?
When I fold a 0-20 number line, I end up with 'stacks' of numbers on top of each other. These challenges involve varying the length of the number line and investigating the 'stack totals'.
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?
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the information who sat where and what their profession were?
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be removed. Click to remove them. The winner is the last one to remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
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 it up?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
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?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Can you draw a square in which the perimeter is numerically equal to the area?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
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?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
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.
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?
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?
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.