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 explain how this card trick works?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
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?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the
strategy for winning this game with any target?
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
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?
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?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
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.
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?
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.
Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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?
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z
coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that
cannot be made? How do you know?
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?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen
congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who
are even older than he is... When was he born?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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.
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. . . .
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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
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 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.
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down
all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur
most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
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?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?