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?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.
How much of the field can the animals graze?
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 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. . . .
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?
Which hexagons tessellate?
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. . . .
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
Can you work out how these polygon pictures were drawn, and use that to figure out their angles?
Join pentagons together edge to edge. Will they form a ring?
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?
An ancient game for two from Egypt. You'll need twelve distinctive 'stones' each to play. You could chalk out the board on the ground - do ask permission first.
Given a 2 by 2 by 2 skeletal cube with one route `down' the cube. How many routes are there from A to B?
This game for two, was played in ancient Egypt as far back as 1400 BC. The game was taken by the Moors to Spain, where it is mentioned in 13th century manuscripts, and the Spanish name Alquerque. . . .
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is the maximum area of the kite?
A game for two players based on a game from the Somali people of Africa. The first player to pick all the other's 'pumpkins' is the winner.
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?
How can you make an angle of 60 degrees by folding a sheet of paper twice?
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
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 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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
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. . . .
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?
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?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
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.
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?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return, 400. . . .
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of procedures will help - variables not essential.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
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?
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. . . .
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
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?
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?