Take a Challenge

Helping families enjoy mathematics outside school through a series of fun and engaging, high-quality challenges

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The rigors and demands of our increasingly complex, technologically dependent society have made high student achievement in mathematics a top priority among educators, policymakers, and employers. Todays citizens need more than basic computation and rote mathematical skills. They must master the higher-level concepts and approaches to problem solving that are key to success in work and everyday life.


To meet this need, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, in cooperation with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Widmeyer Communications, and the Learning First Alliance, launched Figure This!

Figure This! demonstrates challenging middle school mathematics and emphasizes the importance of high-quality math education for all students.  Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education.

Figure This! Mathematical challenges for families provide interesting math challenges that middle-school students can do at home with their families.

Each challenge features:

  • a description of the important math involved
  • a note on where the math is used in the real world
  • a hint to get started
  • complete solutions
  • a “Try This” section
  • additional related problems with answers
  • questions to think about
  • fun facts related to the math
  • resources for further exploration.

Cartoon characters named Polygon, Tessellation, Exponent, Tangent, and Axis illustrate the challenge features. They think math is great!

  • To help families support their children’s math studies, Figure This! has family support materials including:
  • sample questions to ask teachers and administrators about the school setting
  • information on how to prepare students for continuing education
  • suggestions to help with math homework
  • information on the changes in mathematics education
  • examples of math in literature.These resources, designed especially for families, are in theFamily Corner.

You may view web versions of the challenges from the Challenge Index. To download and print PDF versions of the challenges in color or black and white, see the Download page of the Web site.  For more information, go to the Technical Requirements section.

If you are interested in promoting Figure This! in your community or with your business, we encourage you to do so.

A joint project of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, andWidmeyer Communications, with support from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education – Figure This! is designed to provide an exciting and family-friendly way to become more involved in learning math.

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MATH RESOURCES FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE