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?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
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.
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?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
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?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle
numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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 tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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?
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.
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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.
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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.
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
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!