Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
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?
Here are some ideas to try in the classroom for using counters to investigate number patterns.
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?
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a special way?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and play.
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?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?
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?
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?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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 dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
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 models can you find which obey these rules?
How do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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.
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns with two different types of triangle. You could even try overlapping them.
Use the lines on this figure to show how the square can be divided into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 6 sixths and 9 ninths.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Paint a stripe on a cardboard roll. Can you predict what will happen when it is rolled across a sheet of paper?
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?
What are the next three numbers in this sequence? Can you explain why are they called pyramid numbers?
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 ...
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?
Looking at the picture of this Jomista Mat, can you decribe what you see? Why not try and make one yourself?
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
Can you deduce the pattern that has been used to lay out these bottle tops?
This problem invites you to build 3D shapes using two different triangles. Can you make the shapes from the pictures?
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds so find out which we might have bought.
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and making spirals.
Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?
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?
Surprise your friends with this magic square trick.
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular arrangements.
Time for a little mathemagic! Choose any five cards from a pack and show four of them to your partner. How can they work out the fifth?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
This was a problem for our birthday website. Can you use four of these pieces to form a square? How about making a square with all five pieces?
What is the greatest number of squares you can make by overlapping three squares?