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. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
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. . . .
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?
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
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.
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
A game for 2 players
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
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.
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.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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 find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value
that the standard deviation can take?
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. . . .
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.
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
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?
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. . . .
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.
On the 3D grid a strange (and deadly) animal is lurking. Using the tracking system can you locate this creature as quickly as possible?
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?
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!
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
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?
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
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. . . .
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves
twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
Two intersecting circles have a common chord AB. The point C moves
on the circumference of the circle C1. The straight lines CA and CB
meet the circle C2 at E and F respectively. As the point C. . . .
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?
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.
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?