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. . . .
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
Mark a point P inside a closed curve. Is it always possible to find
two points that lie on the curve, such that P is the mid point of
the line joining these two points?
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. . . .
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are
the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it
rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
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?
Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value
that the standard deviation can take?
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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
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.
A game for 2 players
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 visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
For any right-angled triangle find the radii of the three escribed
circles touching the sides of the triangle externally.
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves
twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
If all the faces of a tetrahedron have the same perimeter then show that they are all congruent.
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.
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. . . .
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
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. . . .
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!
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
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
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?
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.
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
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. . . .
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.
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. . . .
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?
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small
cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.