Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square 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. . . .
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. . . .
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 discover whether this is a fair game?
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?
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?
A game for 2 players
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
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?
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. . . .
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?
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?
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. . . .
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
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
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
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.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
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?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
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?
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?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
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?
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc
BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why
this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
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. . . .
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
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?
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?
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.
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?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Generate three random numbers to determine the side lengths of a triangle. What triangles can you draw?