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.
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. . . .
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
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. . . .
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
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?
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?
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
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?
A game for 2 players
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?
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. . . .
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
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. . . .
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem,
but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
Four rods are hinged at their ends to form a convex quadrilateral.
Investigate the different shapes that the quadrilateral can take.
Be patient this problem may be slow to load.
Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect
regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can
make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
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
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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?
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?
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.
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?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
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?
We're excited about this new program for drawing beautiful mathematical designs. Can you work out how we made our first few pictures and, even better, share your most elegant solutions with us?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.
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.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.
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
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?
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than