Arrange six pencils to make exactly two equal sized squares.

Pencil Pencil Pencil Pencil Pencil Pencil

Topics: Starter | Shape

  • N Rush,
  • Surely you only need 5 pencils? The top 2 can just be a single pencil?
  • David, Ontario
  • The solution (with 5 or six pencils) does not guarantee 'squareness' as it depends on eyeballing the center of one pencil.
  • Transum,
  • As N Rush and David correctly point out above there are different ways of making the two squares and, as we are using pencils rather than mathematical lines, the answers probably won't be exact. Nevertheless the activity should serve you well as a lesson Starter. It should capture the interest of the pupils. It should be easy for them to work on in small groups as between them they should have at least six pencils or pens. It should also encourage some mathematical, problem-solving thinking from the outset.

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Two Squares

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


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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 is the URL which will take them to a student activity involving squares called Tantrum.

Student Activity



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