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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Visualising

Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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.

Flight of the Flibbins

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

There and Back Again

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?

Clocking Off

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Crossing the Atlantic

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Buses

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Circuit Training

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Charting More Success

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?

Efficient Packing

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

How efficiently can you pack together disks?

Fermat's Poser

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners) of a given triangle is a minimum.

Charting Success

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?

One and Three

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Instant Insanity

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.

Around and Back

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Floating in Space

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.

All Tied Up

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?

Jam

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

A game for 2 players

Platonic Planet

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Clocked

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

John's Train Is on Time

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Ding Dong Bell

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

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.

Wari

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Playground Snapshot

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem, but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Right Time

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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 again?

Shaping the Universe II - the Solar System

Stage: 3 and 4

The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.

Hypotenuse Lattice Points

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Something in Common

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Speeding Boats

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?

Summing Squares

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?

Baravelle

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

Mystic Rose

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

Triangles in the Middle

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.

Double Trouble

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...

Steel Cables

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

Introducing NRICH TWILGO

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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?

Air Nets

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.

Packing 3D Shapes

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?

Building Tetrahedra

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?

Cubic Net

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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!

Sliding Puzzle

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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 moves.

Building Gnomons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.

Sprouts

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

Shaping the Universe I - Planet Earth

Stage: 3 and 4

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.

LOGO Challenge - Triangles-squares-stars

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Sliced

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Königsberg

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Contact

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

A circular plate rolls in contact with the sides of a rectangular tray. How much of its circumference comes into contact with the sides of the tray when it rolls around one circuit?

A Problem of Time

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?