Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top,
put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you
predict the last card?
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 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. . . .
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?
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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.
For any right-angled triangle find the radii of the three escribed
circles touching the sides of the triangle externally.
In how many different ways can I colour the five edges of a
pentagon red, blue and green so that no two adjacent edges are the
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
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
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?
A game for 2 players
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 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?
Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value
that the standard deviation can take?
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.
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
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 article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .
A triangle PQR, right angled at P, slides on a horizontal floor
with Q and R in contact with perpendicular walls. What is the locus
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 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?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
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. . . .
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 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?
Small circles nestle under touching parent circles when they sit on
the axis at neighbouring points in a Farey sequence.
A and C are the opposite vertices of a square ABCD, and have
coordinates (a,b) and (c,d), respectively. What are the coordinates
of the vertices B and D? What is the area of the square?
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
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.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
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 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 visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design. Coins inserted into the machine slide down a chute into the machine and a drink is duly. . . .
A box of size a cm by b cm by c cm is to be wrapped with a square piece of wrapping paper. Without cutting the paper what is the smallest square this can be?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?