The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.

This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.

What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?

Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?

Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .

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.

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?

Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?

Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top, put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you predict the last card?

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?

Can you use small coloured cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of each colour?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

The reader is invited to investigate changes (or permutations) in the ringing of church bells, illustrated by braid diagrams showing the order in which the bells are rung.

This article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .

Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners) of a given triangle is a minimum.

Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.

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 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?

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.

How can visual patterns be used to prove sums of series?

Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .

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?

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?

These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall and work out a way they might fit together?

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?

In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem, but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?

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?

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.

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. . . .

What's the largest volume of box you can make from a square of paper?

Generate three random numbers to determine the side lengths of a triangle. What triangles can you draw?

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

This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.

Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?

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

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

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?

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?

See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.

A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus meet on its way from one end to the other end?

Some treasure has been hidden in a three-dimensional grid! Can you work out a strategy to find it as efficiently as possible?

This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!