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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Practical Activity

Making Maths: Make a Pendulum

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Galileo, a famous inventor who lived about 400 years ago, came up with an idea similar to this for making a time measuring instrument. Can you turn your pendulum into an accurate minute timer?

Car Journey

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This practical activity involves measuring length/distance.

Take One Metre

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

You will need a long strip of paper for this task. Cut it into different lengths. How could you find out how long each piece is?

Order the Changes

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?

Making Maths: Double-sided Magic Square

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?

Back to the Practical?

Age 7 to 14

In this article for teachers, Bernard uses some problems to suggest that once a numerical pattern has been spotted from a practical starting point, going back to the practical can help explain. . . .

How Tall?

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?

Triangle Relations

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Make a cube with three strips of paper. Colour three faces or use the numbers 1 to 6 to make a die.

Making Maths: Triangular Ball

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Make a ball from triangles!

Making Maths: Kites and Darts

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Using these kite and dart templates, you could try to recreate part of Penrose's famous tessellation or design one yourself.

Making Maths: Snake Pits

Age 5 to 14 Challenge Level:

A game to make and play based on the number line.

Making Maths: Make a Magic Circle

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Make a mobius band and investigate its properties.

Making Maths: Test the Strength of a Triangle

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Have you noticed that triangles are used in manmade structures? Perhaps there is a good reason for this? 'Test a Triangle' and see how rigid triangles are.

Making Maths: Five-point Snowflake

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Follow these instructions to make a five-pointed snowflake from a square of paper.

Making Maths: Be a Mathemagician

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Surprise your friends with this magic square trick.

Paper Curves

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

This is a simple paper-folding activity that gives an intriguing result which you can then investigate further.

Making Maths: A-maze-ing

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Did you know mazes tell stories? Find out more about mazes and make one of your own.

Making Maths: Snowflakes

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

It's hard to make a snowflake with six perfect lines of symmetry, but it's fun to try!

Tangram Pictures

Age 5 to 14 Challenge Level:

Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of your own!

Making Maths: Stars

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Have a go at drawing these stars which use six points drawn around a circle. Perhaps you can create your own designs?

A Patchwork Piece

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Follow the diagrams to make this patchwork piece, based on an octagon in a square.

It's a Tie

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Kaia is sure that her father has worn a particular tie twice a week in at least five of the last ten weeks, but her father disagrees. Who do you think is right?

Sizing Them Up

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Can you put these shapes in order of size? Start with the smallest.

Straight to Curves

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

How can you make a curve from straight strips of paper?

Making Maths: Making a Tangram

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Follow these instructions to make a three-piece and/or seven-piece tangram.

Bryony's Triangle

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Watch the video to see how to fold a square of paper to create a flower. What fraction of the piece of paper is the small triangle?

This Fencing

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.

Celtic Knotwork Patterns

Age 7 to 14

This article for pupils gives an introduction to Celtic knotwork patterns and a feel for how you can draw them.

Folding

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

What shapes can you make by folding an A4 piece of paper?

Hoops/rope

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Ideas for practical ways of representing data such as Venn and Carroll diagrams.

Turning Granny

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

A brief video looking at how you can sometimes use symmetry to distinguish knots. Can you use this idea to investigate the differences between the granny knot and the reef knot?

Making Maths: Indian Window Screen

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you recreate this Indian screen pattern? Can you make up similar patterns of your own?

Well Balanced

Age 5 to 18 Challenge Level:

Exploring balance and centres of mass can be great fun. The resulting structures can seem impossible. Here are some images to encourage you to experiment with non-breakable objects of your own.

First Forward Into Logo 4: Circles

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

Learn how to draw circles using Logo. Wait a minute! Are they really circles? If not what are they?

Plaited Origami Polyhedra

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

These models have appeared around the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. Perhaps you would like to try to make some similar models of your own.

Jig Shapes

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you each work out what shape you have part of on your card? What will the rest of it look like?

Cut and Make

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Cut a square of paper into three pieces as shown. Now,can you use the 3 pieces to make a large triangle, a parallelogram and the square again?

First Forward Into Logo 5: Pen Up, Pen Down

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

Learn about Pen Up and Pen Down in Logo

Domino Sets

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?

Making Maths: Walking Through a Playing Card?

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

It might seem impossible but it is possible. How can you cut a playing card to make a hole big enough to walk through?

Making Maths: Celtic Knot Tiles

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

Make some celtic knot patterns using tiling techniques

First Forward Into Logo 2: Polygons

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

This is the second in a twelve part introduction to Logo for beginners. In this part you learn to draw polygons.

Making Maths: String and Circles

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

You could use just coloured pencils and paper to create this design, but it will be more eye-catching if you can get hold of hammer, nails and string.

Sort Them Out (2)

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice? How could you sort the cards?

Thirsty?

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Can you lay out the pictures of the drinks in the way described by the clue cards?

Next Size Up

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

The challenge for you is to make a string of six (or more!) graded cubes.

Making Maths: Archimedes' Spiral

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Make a spiral mobile.