Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners) of a given triangle is a minimum.
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
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?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.
Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
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. . . .
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
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. . . .
Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be folded into a cube.
A game for 2 players
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
A Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start. How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Explore the area of families of parallelograms and triangles. Can you find rules to work out the areas?
How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?
A cylindrical helix is just a spiral on a cylinder, like an ordinary spring or the thread on a bolt. If I turn a left-handed helix over (top to bottom) does it become a right handed helix?
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
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?
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.
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
The farmers want to redraw their field boundary but keep the area the same. Can you advise them?
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we didn't...?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .