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 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 encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
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.
Ben’s class were making cutting up number tracks. First they
cut them into twos and added up the numbers on each piece. What
patterns could they see?
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
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.
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How
about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you
can predict what will happen.
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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.
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
In how many different ways can you break up a stick of 7 interlocking cubes? Now try with a stick of 8 cubes and a stick of 6 cubes.
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?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number
of points each of their routes scores.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
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
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?
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?
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
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.
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
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?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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?
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
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of
11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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?
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?