Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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.
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Try adding together the dates of all the days in one week. Now
multiply the first date by 7 and add 21. Can you explain what
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?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
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?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
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?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is
the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images
help to explain this?
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?
Start with two numbers. This is the start of a sequence. The next
number is the average of the last two numbers. Continue the
sequence. What will happen if you carry on for ever?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of
each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to
be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop
pupils’ mathematical thinking. This package places a
particular emphasis on “generalising” and is designed
to meet the. . . .
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they
usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many
altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?