Rotation Challenges

Years 2 - 6


Children sometimes discover how to make an axle in the centre of Poly Plug boards and immediately begin spinning. This activity suggests a few challenges that can take advantage of this natural behaviour and simultaneously develop some mathematical insight.


  • 1 Poly Plug per person


Glenda Pain, Port Wakefield Primary School as part of a Professional Development program titled Engineering 'aha' Moments in Number


  • Stack the red board on top of the blue/yellow, press out the centre plugs.
  • Put them into the boards again in reverse order to make an axle.
  • Remove a few other plugs (no more than five).
  • Explore and record (perhaps with a camera).
Below is Glenda's first effort and one of her What happens if...? questions. Members can also explore the activity Rotating Poly Plugs. Also, use the Task Cameo Content Finder to find Tasks that involve rotation and other transformations.


  • language of space, position & order
  • mathematical conversation
  • spatial perception
  • transformations (rotations, reflections, flips)

Press out the three corners as shown.
Rotation Challenge 1a
Now predict what you will see if the red board is rotated Turn (90) anti-clockwise.

No peeking now until you have thought about it...


But if you have...
Rotation Challenge 1b
and another Turn (90) anti-clockwise?


Rotation Challenge 1c
and another Turn (90) anti-clockwise?


Rotation Challenge 1d
and another Turn (90) anti-clockwise?


Rotation Challenge 1e
Not too difficult perhaps...


but predict what you will see if this pattern is rotated Turn (90) anti-clockwise.
Rotation Challenge 1f


Think ... then click here.

Calculating Changes ... is a division of ... Mathematics Centre