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 tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
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?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
Here is a proof of Euler's formula in the plane and on a sphere together with projects to explore cases of the formula for a polygon with holes, for the torus and other solids with holes and the. . . .
How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
This is the second of two articles and discusses problems relating to the curvature of space, shortest distances on surfaces, triangulations of surfaces and representation by graphs.
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
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. . . .
Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.
An account of methods for finding whether or not a number can be written as the sum of two or more squares or as the sum of two or more cubes.
Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.
Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
This article extends the discussions in "Whole number dynamics I". Continuing the proof that, for all starting points, the Happy Number sequence goes into a loop or homes in on a fixed point.
The final of five articles which containe the proof of why the sequence introduced in article IV either reaches the fixed point 0 or the sequence enters a repeating cycle of four values.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
Learn about the link between logical arguments and electronic circuits. Investigate the logical connectives by making and testing your own circuits and record your findings in truth tables.
In this third of five articles we prove that whatever whole number we start with for the Happy Number sequence we will always end up with some set of numbers being repeated over and over again.
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. . . .
Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .
The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
Fractional calculus is a generalisation of ordinary calculus where you can differentiate n times when n is not a whole number.
A polite number can be written as the sum of two or more consecutive positive integers. Find the consecutive sums giving the polite numbers 544 and 424. What characterizes impolite numbers?
Learn about the link between logical arguments and electronic circuits. Investigate the logical connectives by making and testing your own circuits and fill in the blanks in truth tables to record. . . .
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?
How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?
Find the positive integer solutions of the equation (1+1/a)(1+1/b)(1+1/c) = 2
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. . . .
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. . . .
By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
Here the diagram says it all. Can you find the diagram?
Clearly if a, b and c are the lengths of the sides of an equilateral triangle then a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = ab + bc + ca. Is the converse true?
Show that for natural numbers x and y if x/y > 1 then x/y>(x+1)/(y+1}>1. Hence prove that the product for i=1 to n of [(2i)/(2i-1)] tends to infinity as n tends to infinity.
Given that a, b and c are natural numbers show that if sqrt a+sqrt b is rational then it is a natural number. Extend this to 3 variables.
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
Have a go at being mathematically negative, by negating these statements.
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
This problem is a sequence of linked mini-challenges leading up to the proof of a difficult final challenge, encouraging you to think mathematically. Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how. . . .