Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Here are some ideas to try in the classroom for using counters to investigate number patterns.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
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?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
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?
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?
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.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and play.
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
Can you deduce the pattern that has been used to lay out these bottle tops?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
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?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a special way?
What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you try the other shapes?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?
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.
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
I start with a red, a blue, a green and a yellow marble. I can trade any of my marbles for three others, one of each colour. Can I end up with exactly two marbles of each colour?
How do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?
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?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Can you predict when you'll be clapping and when you'll be clicking if you start this rhythm? How about when a friend begins a new rhythm at the same time?
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?
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
I start with a red, a green and a blue marble. I can trade any of my marbles for two others, one of each colour. Can I end up with five more blue marbles than red after a number of such trades?
How is it possible to predict the card?
For this task, you'll need an A4 sheet and two A5 transparent sheets. Decide on a way of arranging the A5 sheets on top of the A4 sheet and explore ...
Paint a stripe on a cardboard roll. Can you predict what will happen when it is rolled across a sheet of paper?
What are the next three numbers in this sequence? Can you explain why are they called pyramid numbers?
Can you visualise what shape this piece of paper will make when it is folded?
Looking at the picture of this Jomista Mat, can you decribe what you see? Why not try and make one yourself?
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
Make a flower design using the same shape made out of different sizes of paper.
Can you work out what shape is made by folding in this way? Why not create some patterns using this shape but in different sizes?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns with two different types of triangle. You could even try overlapping them.
This problem invites you to build 3D shapes using two different triangles. Can you make the shapes from the pictures?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Have a look at what happens when you pull a reef knot and a granny knot tight. Which do you think is best for securing things together? Why?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and making spirals.
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.