This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10 are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the largest possible number of houses in the square?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
How will you go about finding all the jigsaw pieces that have one peg and one hole?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be removed. Click to remove them. The winner is the last one to remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train can continue its journey?
When I fold a 0-20 number line, I end up with 'stacks' of numbers on top of each other. These challenges involve varying the length of the number line and investigating the 'stack totals'.
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes could he have taken?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover an eight by eight chessboard?
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals have an even number of red counters?
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 can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up with the same arrangement?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th mark?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
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?
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
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.
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?
This article for teachers describes how modelling number properties involving multiplication using an array of objects not only allows children to represent their thinking with concrete materials,. . . .
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back together?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
Can you make a 3x3 cube with these shapes made from small cubes?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
One face of a regular tetrahedron is painted blue and each of the remaining faces are painted using one of the colours red, green or yellow. How many different possibilities are there?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are visible?
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
A toy has a regular tetrahedron, a cube and a base with triangular and square hollows. If you fit a shape into the correct hollow a bell rings. How many times does the bell ring in a complete game?
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?
Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that share their sides.
A game has a special dice with a colour spot on each face. These three pictures show different views of the same dice. What colour is opposite blue?
Can you cut up a square in the way shown and make the pieces into a triangle?
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
A game for 2 players. Given a board of dots in a grid pattern, players take turns drawing a line by connecting 2 adjacent dots. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent.
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 ...