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.
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are
A and B are two interlocking cogwheels having p teeth and q teeth respectively. One tooth on B is painted red. Find the values of p and q for which the red tooth on B contacts every gap on the. . . .
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.
An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles.
Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4,
5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will
not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the
quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock
face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions
differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
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?
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,. . . .
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. . . .
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two
different distances between them?
The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
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?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What
movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of
procedures will help - variables not essential.
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
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?
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?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at
right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles
Given a 2 by 2 by 2 skeletal cube with one route `down' the cube.
How many routes are there from A to B?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post.
There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can
tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex (corner) and
allowing it to hang freely. Now imagine you are lowering it into
water until it is exactly half submerged. What shape does the
surface. . . .
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
Imagine a wheel with different markings painted on it at regular
intervals. Can you predict the colour of the 18th mark? The 100th
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?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop pupils'
mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on
“visualising” and is designed to meet the needs. . . .
The reader is invited to investigate changes (or permutations) in the ringing of church bells, illustrated by braid diagrams showing the order in which the bells are rung.
How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or
DVDs? How about using five, then six?
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
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?
A Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start.
How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?
A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes,
two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus
meet on its way from one end to the other end?
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable.
Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged
L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?