Match Fish

By moving just three matches can you make it look as
though the fish is swimming to the left?

Match Match Match Match Match Match Match Match



Use pencils and pens to try out your ideas.

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Topics: Starter | Problem Solving | Puzzles | Symmetry

  • Luke Seymour, Sheffield Park Academy
  • Can you make a supermarket by moving 1 match?

    PLACE 16 MATCHES TO CREATE 4 SQUARES 2 top, 2 bottom

    move one so it spells CO OP
  • Whitly Bay High,
  • This was a good starter it got the children thinking.
  • Miss Star, Newport Middle
  • The kids enjoyed it they found it out in around 20 mins they wanted to do it again and again !
  • Mr Moroca, Dykehouse College
  • I found this really interesting and my class enjoyed doing this starter!
  • Awesome Girl 2012, Eden Prarie, Minnesota Voted Best City To Live In
  • I learned about this from my 4th grade enriched math teacher. This is a good website.
  • Transum,
  • This is a great problem solving activity which is really effective if pupils are working in small groups of two or three. The grouping encourages discussion, justification and explanation of ideas. There are more similar puzzles to be found by following the links below. Don't use live matches though!

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
Click here to enter your comments.

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Stick Squares

Stick Squares

Move four sticks to new positions in the arrangement so that there are three squares instead of two.

The short web address is:


Matchstick Puzzle

Matchstick Puzzle

Move three matches to new positions in the diagram so that there are five squares instead of three.

The short web address is:


Matchstick Patterns

Matchstick Patterns

Create a formula to describe the nth term of a sequence by examining the structure of the diagrams.

The short web address is:

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Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops?  This page was really designed for projection on a whiteboard but if you really want the students to have access to it here is a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments:

However it would be better to assign one of the student interactive activities below.

Laptops In Lessons

Here are the URLs which will take them to the other interactive stick moving activities.





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