How efficiently can you pack together disks?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will be produced using different wheels?
How much of the field can the animals graze?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP : PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED. What is the area of the triangle PQR?
A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post. There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .
Four rods are hinged at their ends to form a convex quadrilateral. Investigate the different shapes that the quadrilateral can take. Be patient this problem may be slow to load.
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem, but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
Given a 2 by 2 by 2 skeletal cube with one route `down' the cube. How many routes are there from A to B?
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design...
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
A bicycle passes along a path and leaves some tracks. Is it possible to say which track was made by the front wheel and which by the back wheel?
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles again?
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex and allowing it to hang freely. What shape does the surface of the water make around the cube?
Which hexagons tessellate?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
A useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking about the formulae needed for generating the results on a spreadsheet.
What is the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected into?
On a clock the three hands - the second, minute and hour hands - are on the same axis. How often in a 24 hour day will the second hand be parallel to either of the two other hands?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
Join pentagons together edge to edge. Will they form a ring?
In the game of Noughts and Crosses there are 8 distinct winning lines. How many distinct winning lines are there in a game played on a 3 by 3 by 3 board, with 27 cells?
Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?
An introduction to bond angle geometry.
A and C are the opposite vertices of a square ABCD, and have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d), respectively. What are the coordinates of the vertices B and D? What is the area of the square?
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be folded into a cube.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times you. . . .
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?