This article for teachers describes several games, found on the site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to develop the skills of strategic planning.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
A game for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
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 moves.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.
In this problem we are looking at sets of parallel sticks that cross each other. What is the least number of crossings you can make? And the greatest?
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Can you dissect an equilateral triangle into 6 smaller ones? What number of smaller equilateral triangles is it NOT possible to dissect a larger equilateral triangle into?
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
Watch this video to see how to roll the dice. Now it's your turn! What do you notice about the dice numbers you have recorded?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!