Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful
inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of
knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
Choose any two numbers. Call them a and b. Work out the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?
Three frogs hopped onto the table. A red frog on the left a green in the middle and a blue frog on the right. Then frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to. . . .
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are
the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it
rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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
A game for 2 players
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
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.
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
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. . . .
This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
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. . . .
How many different ways can I lay 10 paving slabs, each 2 foot by 1
foot, to make a path 2 foot wide and 10 foot long from my back door
into my garden, without cutting any of the paving slabs?
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with
a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a
layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
You have 27 small cubes, 3 each of nine colours. Use the small cubes to make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of every colour.
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
Draw a pentagon with all the diagonals. This is called a pentagram.
How many diagonals are there? How many diagonals are there in a
hexagram, heptagram, ... Does any pattern occur when looking at. . . .
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two
different distances between them?
ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP
: PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED.
What is the area of the triangle PQR?
A tilted square is a square with no horizontal sides. Can you
devise a general instruction for the construction of a square when
you are given just one of its sides?
A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .
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?
In how many ways can you fit all three pieces together to make
shapes with line symmetry?
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point
of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the
square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
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. . . .
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
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.
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form
a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is
the maximum area of the kite?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds
leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each
other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return,
400. . . .
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?