A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret
the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will
be produced using different wheels?
For any right-angled triangle find the radii of the three escribed
circles touching the sides of the triangle externally.
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between
them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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?
A bicycle passes along a path and leaves some tracks. Is it
possible to say which track was made by the front wheel and which
by the back wheel?
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?
Imagine a rectangular tray lying flat on a table. Suppose that a plate lies on the tray and rolls around, in contact with the sides as it rolls. What can we say about the motion?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six
pointed star and an eight pointed star.
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
A game for 2 players
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.
The net of a cube is to be cut from a sheet of card 100 cm square.
What is the maximum volume cube that can be made from a single
piece of card?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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. . . .
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?
Takes you through the systematic way in which you can begin to
solve a mixed up Cubic Net. How close will you come to a solution?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and
Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value
that the standard deviation can take?
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?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?
In this problem we see how many pieces we can cut a cube of cheese
into using a limited number of slices. How many pieces will you be
able to make?
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves
twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
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.
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?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .