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.
A group of children are discussing the height of a tall tree. How would you go about finding out its height?
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?
Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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.
Can you make the most extraordinary, the most amazing, the most unusual patterns/designs from these triangles which are made in a special way?
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.
This practical problem challenges you to create shapes and patterns with two different types of triangle. You could even try overlapping them.
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?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?
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?
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?
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 investigation invites you to make tessellating shapes in a similar way to the artist Escher.
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.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
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?
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular arrangements.
Can you each work out the number on your card? What do you notice? How could you sort the cards?
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 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?
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
It might seem impossible but it is possible. How can you cut a playing card to make a hole big enough to walk through?
Can you each work out what shape you have part of on your card? What will the rest of it look like?
How is it possible to predict the card?
If these balls are put on a line with each ball touching the one in front and the one behind, which arrangement makes the shortest line of balls?
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 do you know if your set of dominoes is complete?
Can you deduce the pattern that has been used to lay out these bottle tops?
Surprise your friends with this magic square trick.
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and play.
Make a mobius band and investigate its properties.
Here are some ideas to try in the classroom for using counters to investigate number patterns.
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Use the lines on this figure to show how the square can be divided into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 6 sixths and 9 ninths.