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. . . .
In this problem, we have created a pattern from smaller and smaller
squares. If we carried on the pattern forever, what proportion of
the image would be coloured blue?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is
covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom
right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
Anne completes a circuit around a circular track in 40 seconds.
Brenda runs in the opposite direction and meets Anne every 15
seconds. How long does it take Brenda to run around the track?
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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!
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
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.
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
P is a point on the circumference of a circle radius r which rolls,
without slipping, inside a circle of radius 2r. What is the locus
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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?
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
A game for 2 players
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
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top,
put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you
predict the last card?
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?
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being
visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes
so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times
you. . . .
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. . . .
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
Take a line segment of length 1. Remove the middle third. Remove
the middle thirds of what you have left. Repeat infinitely many
times, and you have the Cantor Set. Can you picture it?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
How many ways can you write the word EUROMATHS by starting at the
top left hand corner and taking the next letter by stepping one
step down or one step to the right in a 5x5 array?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
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.
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?