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.
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
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. . . .
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
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?
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?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Place the numbers 1, 2, 3,..., 9 one on each square of a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows and columns add up to a prime number. How many different solutions can you find?
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.
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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?
If you can post the triangle with either the blue or yellow colour face up, how many ways can it be posted altogether?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this junk?
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares.
Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
Can you cut a regular hexagon into two pieces to make a
parallelogram? Try cutting it into three pieces to make a rhombus!
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?
Billy's class had a robot called Fred who could draw with chalk
held underneath him. What shapes did the pupils make Fred draw?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this plaque design?
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 see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular
intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Wai Ping, Wah Ming and Chi Wing?
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?
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these rabbits?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the telescope and microscope?
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of
activities required to develop this thinking.
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences
between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are
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?
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. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
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.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
A hundred square has been printed on both sides of a piece of paper. What is on the back of 100? 58? 23? 19?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or
Here are shadows of some 3D shapes. What shapes could have made
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,. . . .
A shape and space game for 2,3 or 4 players. Be the last person to be able to place a pentomino piece on the playing board. Play with card, or on the computer.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?