Jack has nine tiles. He put them together to make a square so that two tiles of the same colour were not beside each other. Can you find another way to do it?
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?
Arrange 3 red, 3 blue and 3 yellow counters into a three-by-three square grid, so that there is only one of each colour in every row and every column
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of sticks that make the most triangles?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five equilateral triangles edge to edge.
Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the rules.
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with each of the others. What was the total number rides?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train can continue its journey?
Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
Can you create jigsaw pieces which are based on a square shape, with at least one peg and one hole?
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Can you replace the letters with numbers? Is there only one solution in each case?
Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which to help children become better at working systematically.
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the information who sat where and what their profession were?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
How will you go about finding all the jigsaw pieces that have one peg and one hole?
There are lots of different methods to find out what the shapes are worth - how many can you find?
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?
Nina must cook some pasta for 15 minutes but she only has a 7-minute sand-timer and an 11-minute sand-timer. How can she use these timers to measure exactly 15 minutes?
In this challenge, buckets come in five different sizes. If you choose some buckets, can you investigate the different ways in which they can be filled?
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake bar?
How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are next to each other in any direction?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube. Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.
Use the clues to work out which cities Mohamed, Sheng, Tanya and Bharat live in.
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
Can you help the children find the two triangles which have the lengths of two sides numerically equal to their areas?