Resources tagged with: Visualising

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Visualising

Thinking Through, and By, Visualising

Age 7 to 16

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. . . .

Keep Your Distance

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?

Making Tracks

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Chess

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

The Perforated Cube

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is the most and least number of cubes required ?

Drilling Many Cubes

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Wari

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Marbles in a Box

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?

Eight Hidden Squares

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight hidden squares?

All in the Mind

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Ten Hidden Squares

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares. Can you find the 10 hidden squares?

Soma - So Good

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you mentally fit the 7 SOMA pieces together to make a cube? Can you do it in more than one way?

Coloured Edges

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?

Tic Tac Toe

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Dissect

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

What is the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected into?

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?

Something in Common

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.

Auditorium Steps

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?

3D Stacks

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?

Framed

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions of. . . .

Just Opposite

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Natural Sum

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .

Picture Story

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?

On the Edge

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?

Bands and Bridges: Bringing Topology Back

Age 7 to 14

Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.

Square It

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

Platonic Planet

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Changing Places

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Rati-o

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Points P, Q, R and S each divide the sides AB, BC, CD and DA respectively in the ratio of 2 : 1. Join the points. What is the area of the parallelogram PQRS in relation to the original rectangle?

Inside Out

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

A Tilted Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?

The Spider and the Fly

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Tourism

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Zooming in on the Squares

Age 7 to 14

Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?

Convex Polygons

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.

Painted Cube

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Pattern Power

Age 5 to 14

Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.

Hypotenuse Lattice Points

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?

Tilting Triangles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Tetra Square

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.

Take Ten

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original?

Corridors

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.

Building Tetrahedra

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?

Triangles Within Triangles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?

Christmas Chocolates

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

Summing Squares

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?

Troublesome Dice

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we didn't...?

Baravelle

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

Spotting the Loophole

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than algebra?

Steel Cables

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?