Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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.
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
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?
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?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
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?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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?
With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.
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?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a
surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces
(top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .