This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which
there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged
to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
For this task, you'll need an A4 sheet and two A5 transparent sheets. Decide on a way of arranging the A5 sheets on top of the A4 sheet and explore ...
A game for 2 players. Given a board of dots in a grid pattern, players take turns drawing a line by connecting 2 adjacent dots. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent.
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?
An extension of noughts and crosses in which the grid is enlarged
and the length of the winning line can to altered to 3, 4 or 5.
How can the same pieces of the tangram make this bowl before and after it was chipped? Use the interactivity to try and work out what is going on!
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red
counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the
other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you
work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall
and work out a way they might fit together?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
This article introduces the idea of generic proof for younger children and illustrates how one example can offer a proof of a general result through unpacking its underlying structure.
An activity centred around observations of dots and how we visualise number arrangement patterns.
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of
activities required to develop this thinking.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work
out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes
could he have taken?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
This article for teachers describes how modelling number properties
involving multiplication using an array of objects not only allows
children to represent their thinking with concrete materials,. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that
share their sides.
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to
another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number
and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand
face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he
had just finished spelling. How did this work?
Can you arrange the shapes in a chain so that each one shares a
face (or faces) that are the same shape as the one that follows it?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?