Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg in a square hole?
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
Investigate the different ways of cutting a perfectly circular pie into equal pieces using exactly 3 cuts. The cuts have to be along chords of the circle (which might be diameters).
In a right angled triangular field, three animals are tethered to posts at the midpoint of each side. Each rope is just long enough to allow the animal to reach two adjacent vertices. Only one animal. . . .
A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the same radius.
Explain how the thirteen pieces making up the regular hexagon shown in the diagram can be re-assembled to form three smaller regular hexagons congruent to each other.
This article for pupils gives some examples of how circles have featured in people's lives for centuries.
A floor is covered by a tessellation of equilateral triangles, each having three equal arcs inside it. What proportion of the area of the tessellation is shaded?
With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.
Follow the instructions and you can take a rectangle, cut it into 4 pieces, discard two small triangles, put together the remaining two pieces and end up with a rectangle the same size. Try it!
A circle touches the lines OA, OB and AB where OA and OB are perpendicular. Show that the diameter of the circle is equal to the perimeter of the triangle
Two circles are enclosed by a rectangle 12 units by x units. The distance between the centres of the two circles is x/3 units. How big is x?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Bluey-green, white and transparent squares with a few odd bits of shapes around the perimeter. But, how many squares are there of each type in the complete circle? Study the picture and make. . . .
Identical squares of side one unit contain some circles shaded blue. In which of the four examples is the shaded area greatest?
Triangle ABC is right angled at A and semi circles are drawn on all three sides producing two 'crescents'. Show that the sum of the areas of the two crescents equals the area of triangle ABC.
This article gives an wonderful insight into students working on the Arclets problem that first appeared in the Sept 2002 edition of the NRICH website.
A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will be produced using different wheels?
Equal circles can be arranged so that each circle touches four or six others. What percentage of the plane is covered by circles in each packing pattern? ...
Can you recreate squares and rhombuses if you are only given a side or a diagonal?
What's the greatest number of sides a polygon on a dotty grid could have?
This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on AB as diameter?
This task develops spatial reasoning skills. By framing and asking questions a member of the team has to find out what mathematical object they have chosen.
Investigate the properties of quadrilaterals which can be drawn with a circle just touching each side and another circle just touching each vertex.
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
M is any point on the line AB. Squares of side length AM and MB are constructed and their circumcircles intersect at P (and M). Prove that the lines AD and BE produced pass through P.
Two semi-circles (each of radius 1/2) touch each other, and a semi-circle of radius 1 touches both of them. Find the radius of the circle which touches all three semi-circles.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
The sides of a triangle are 25, 39 and 40 units of length. Find the diameter of the circumscribed circle.
This article describes investigations that offer opportunities for children to think differently, and pose their own questions, about shapes.
Can you find the areas of the trapezia in this sequence?
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
Straight lines are drawn from each corner of a square to the mid points of the opposite sides. Express the area of the octagon that is formed at the centre as a fraction of the area of the square.
Thinking of circles as polygons with an infinite number of sides - but how does this help us with our understanding of the circumference of circle as pi x d? This challenge investigates. . . .
Recreating the designs in this challenge requires you to break a problem down into manageable chunks and use the relationships between triangles and hexagons. An exercise in detail and elegance.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.
Medieval stonemasons used a method to construct octagons using ruler and compasses... Is the octagon regular? Proof please.
A white cross is placed symmetrically in a red disc with the central square of side length sqrt 2 and the arms of the cross of length 1 unit. What is the area of the disc still showing?
The ten arcs forming the edges of the "holly leaf" are all arcs of circles of radius 1 cm. Find the length of the perimeter of the holly leaf and the area of its surface.
Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q such that APCQ is a rhombus.
The centre of the larger circle is at the midpoint of one side of an equilateral triangle and the circle touches the other two sides of the triangle. A smaller circle touches the larger circle and. . . .
Given a square ABCD of sides 10 cm, and using the corners as centres, construct four quadrants with radius 10 cm each inside the square. The four arcs intersect at P, Q, R and S. Find the. . . .
Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3 touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?
A kite shaped lawn consists of an equilateral triangle ABC of side 130 feet and an isosceles triangle BCD in which BD and CD are of length 169 feet. A gardener has a motor mower which cuts strips of. . . .
Read all about the number pi and the mathematicians who have tried to find out its value as accurately as possible.
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
Investigate constructible images which contain rational areas.
The challenge is to produce elegant solutions. Elegance here implies simplicity. The focus is on rhombi, in particular those formed by jointing two equilateral triangles along an edge.