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.
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
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?
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. . . .
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
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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,. . . .
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.
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?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
Take it in turns to place a domino on the grid. One to be placed horizontally and the other vertically. Can you make it impossible for your opponent to play?
Can you predict when you'll be clapping and when you'll be clicking
if you start this rhythm? How about when a friend begins a new
rhythm at the same time?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular
intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
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?
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?
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles
together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can
be fitted together?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
A variant on the game Alquerque
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
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?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
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?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Move just three of the circles so that the triangle faces in the
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
An activity centred around observations of dots and how we visualise number arrangement patterns.
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?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these
operations. What number do you end on?
Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There
are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where
are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
Imagine a pyramid which is built in square layers of small cubes. If we number the cubes from the top, starting with 1, can you picture which cubes are directly below this first cube?
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
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.
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 ...