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?
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?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
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?
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?
If a ball is rolled into the corner of a room how far is its centre from the corner?
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 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
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. . . .
An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?
A tennis ball is served from directly above the baseline (assume the ball travels in a straight line). What is the minimum height that the ball can be hit at to ensure it lands in the service area?
Read all about Pythagoras' mathematical discoveries in this article written for students.
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. . . .
A dot starts at the point (1,0) and turns anticlockwise. Can you estimate the height of the dot after it has turned through 45 degrees? Can you calculate its height?
Can you find a relationship between the area of the crescents and the area of the triangle?
Equal circles can be arranged so that each circle touches four or six others. What percentage of the plane is covered by circles in each packing pattern? ...
Pythagoras of Samos was a Greek philosopher who lived from about 580 BC to about 500 BC. Find out about the important developments he made in mathematics, astronomy, and the theory of music.
A circle touches the lines OA, OB and AB where OA and OB are perpendicular. Show that the diameter of the circle is equal to the perimeter of the triangle
The ten arcs forming the edges of the "holly leaf" are all arcs of circles of radius 1 cm. Find the length of the perimeter of the holly leaf and the area of its surface.
Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg in a square hole?
A floor is covered by a tessellation of equilateral triangles, each having three equal arcs inside it. What proportion of the area of the tessellation is shaded?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
Explain how the thirteen pieces making up the regular hexagon shown in the diagram can be re-assembled to form three smaller regular hexagons congruent to each other.
Can you minimise the amount of wood needed to build the roof of my garden shed?
Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
Liethagoras, Pythagoras' cousin (!), was jealous of Pythagoras and came up with his own theorem. Read this article to find out why other mathematicians laughed at him.
Prove that a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 6 has the same area as a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 8. Find other pairs of non-congruent isosceles triangles which have equal areas.
The area of a regular pentagon looks about twice as a big as the pentangle star drawn within it. Is it?
How many right-angled triangles are there with sides that are all integers less than 100 units?
A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord which is tangent to the inner circle.
This article for pupils and teachers looks at a number that even the great mathematician, Pythagoras, found terrifying.
Chris is enjoying a swim but needs to get back for lunch. If she can swim at 3 m/s and run at 7m/sec, how far along the bank should she land in order to get back as quickly as possible?
The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is, satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in a circle with a unit radius?
It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?
Describe how to construct three circles which have areas in the ratio 1:2:3.
A fire-fighter needs to fill a bucket of water from the river and take it to a fire. What is the best point on the river bank for the fire-fighter to fill the bucket ?.
A ladder 3m long rests against a wall with one end a short distance from its base. Between the wall and the base of a ladder is a garden storage box 1m tall and 1m high. What is the maximum distance. . . .
What remainders do you get when square numbers are divided by 4?
What is the same and what is different about these circle questions? What connections can you make?
Six circular discs are packed in different-shaped boxes so that the discs touch their neighbours and the sides of the box. Can you put the boxes in order according to the areas of their bases?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?
Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q such that APCQ is a rhombus.
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
A ribbon is nailed down with a small amount of slack. What is the largest cube that can pass under the ribbon ?
Which has the greatest area, a circle or a square inscribed in an isosceles, right angle triangle?
If the altitude of an isosceles triangle is 8 units and the perimeter of the triangle is 32 units.... What is the area of the triangle?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .