Every day at noon a boat leaves Le Havre for New York while another
boat leaves New York for Le Havre. The ocean crossing takes seven
days. How many boats will each boat cross during their journey?
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?
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?
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. . . .
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
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.
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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.
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
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
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?
Here are four tiles. They can be arranged in a 2 by 2 square so that this large square has a green edge. If the tiles are moved around, we can make a 2 by 2 square with a blue edge... Now try to. . . .
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?
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.
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a
room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest
distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
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?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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. . . .
Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks
for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read
direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
Draw a square. A second square of the same size slides around the
first always maintaining contact and keeping the same orientation.
How far does the dot travel?
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight
from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by
99 square board?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
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?
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
On a clock the three hands - the second, minute and hour hands - are on the same axis. How often in a 24 hour day will the second hand be parallel to either of the two other hands?
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a
and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two
edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
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.
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