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?

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?

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. . . .

What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?

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 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. . . .

Read all about Pythagoras' mathematical discoveries in this article written for students.

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 ?.

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 is nailed down with a small amount of slack. What is the largest cube that can pass under the ribbon ?

If a ball is rolled into the corner of a room how far is its centre from the corner?

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?

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

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.

Draw two circles, each of radius 1 unit, so that each circle goes through the centre of the other one. What is the area of the overlap?

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? ...

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.

Can you minimise the amount of wood needed to build the roof of my garden shed?

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.

Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.

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?

Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg in a square hole?

Three squares are drawn on the sides of a triangle ABC. Their areas are respectively 18 000, 20 000 and 26 000 square centimetres. If the outer vertices of the squares are joined, three more. . . .

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

Cut off three right angled isosceles triangles to produce a pentagon. With two lines, cut the pentagon into three parts which can be rearranged into another square.

Is the sum of the squares of two opposite sloping edges of a rectangular based pyramid equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sloping edges?

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.

Can you find a relationship between the area of the crescents and the area of the triangle?

This article for pupils and teachers looks at a number that even the great mathematician, Pythagoras, found terrifying.

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?

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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.

A description of some experiments in which you can make discoveries about triangles.

How many right-angled triangles are there with sides that are all integers less than 100 units?

It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?

Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord which is tangent to the inner circle.

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?

What remainders do you get when square numbers are divided by 4?

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?

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?

An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?

What is the same and what is different about these circle questions? What connections can you make?

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. . . .

Describe how to construct three circles which have areas in the ratio 1:2:3.

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.

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?

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?

Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?