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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Visualising

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Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Neighbours

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Multiplication Series: Illustrating Number Properties with Arrays

Stage: 1 and 2

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,. . . .

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Knight's Swap

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?

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Waiting for Blast Off

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Single Track

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train can continue its journey?

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Horizontal Vertical

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Thinking Through, and By, Visualising

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .

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Colour Wheels

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th mark?

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Domino Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?

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Shunting Puzzle

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?

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Square It

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Like a Circle in a Spiral

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will be produced using different wheels?

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Change Around

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Move just three of the circles so that the triangle faces in the opposite direction.

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Tessellate the Triominoes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

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Cover the Camel

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you cover the camel with these pieces?

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Dodecamagic

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Map Folding

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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 it up?

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Sliding Puzzle

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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 moves.

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Tangram Tangle

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Tricky Triangles

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?

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Cubes Within Cubes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Sprouts

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

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Counters

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?

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Baravelle

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

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Routes 1 and 5

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?

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Putting Two and Two Together

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Music to My Ears

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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28 and It's Upward and Onward

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are visible?

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Celtic Knot

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.

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One Big Triangle

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10. You could use the interactivity to help you.

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Picture a Pyramid ...

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Introducing NRICH TWILGO

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

We're excited about this new program for drawing beautiful mathematical designs. Can you work out how we made our first few pictures and, even better, share your most elegant solutions with us?

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Clocking Off

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?

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Take One Example

Stage: 1 and 2

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.

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Auditorium Steps

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?

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3D Stacks

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?

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Pattern Power

Stage: 1, 2 and 3

Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.

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Quadrilaterals

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?

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Zooming in on the Squares

Stage: 2 and 3

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?

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Nine-pin Triangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?

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Counting Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Triple Cubes

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.

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Sea Defences

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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More Pebbles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.

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Dice, Routes and Pathways

Stage: 1, 2 and 3

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. . . .

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Eight Hidden Squares

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight hidden squares?

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Dragons and Swans

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A game for two players. You'll need some counters.

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Taking Steps

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.

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Little Boxes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?