A thoughtful shepherd used bales of straw to protect the area around his lambs. Explore how you can arrange the bales.
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?
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?
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.
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.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
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.
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.
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
What is the largest 'ribbon square' you can make? And the smallest? How many different squares can you make altogether?
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
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?
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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?
Your challenge is to find the longest way through the network following this rule. You can start and finish anywhere, and with any shape, as long as you follow the correct order.
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
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?
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?
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?
How will you go about finding all the jigsaw pieces that have one peg and one hole?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.
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?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
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 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.
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?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
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?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five equilateral triangles edge to edge.
My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has taken? What does each face look like?
Suppose there is a train with 24 carriages which are going to be put together to make up some new trains. Can you find all the ways that this can be done?
How many ways can you find of tiling the square patio, using square tiles of different sizes?
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
Penta people, the Pentominoes, always build their houses from five square rooms. I wonder how many different Penta homes you can create?
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?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
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 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?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you find for me to take?
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?
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?