Working systematically, is a key problem solving skill that will support children to become competent as problem solvers.  This is important when a task involves finding all possibilities, or when it is helpful to structure a method for solving a problem.



Age 5 to 7

In a certain city houses had to be built in a particular way. There had to be 2 rooms on the ground floor and all other rooms had to be built on top of these. Families were allowed to build just one room for each person living in the house.

So a house for 2 people would look like this:

A house for three people could look like one of these:








There are some families of 7 people living in the town. In how many different ways can they build their houses?

You could draw the houses on squared paper or make them with cube blocks.
How will you know you have found all the different houses?
You could start by finding all the houses for four people, then five people etc.


The Tall Tower

Age 5 to 7 

You have been trapped at the top of the Tall Tower by the Wicked Magician!!!!

You can only get out by climbing down the ladders. As you come down you collect useful spells.

>You can go down the ladders and through the doorways into an adjoining room
>You cannot go into the same room twice, and you can’t climb back up the ladders!

The numbers in the rooms show how many spells there are in each one.

Which way should you go to collect the most spells?

And which way to collect as few as possible?

Can you find a route that collects exactly 35 spells?

Here’s a map of the Tall Tower to help you.