Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 × 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so for. . . .
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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
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
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
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?
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.
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a
factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and
16 is a factor of 48.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
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?
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.
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.
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 collection of games on the NIM theme
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
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?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number youâ€™re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.