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?

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.

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?

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?

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.

Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?

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?

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?

Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?

The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.

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?

Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

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?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

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 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 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?

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.

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?

These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?

Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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?

Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?

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?

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?

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.

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. . . .

Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?

A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .

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.

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.

How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just like the one I have here?

Draw a square. A second square of the same size slides around the first always maintaining contact and keeping the same orientation. How far does the dot travel?

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?

Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?

Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?

It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?

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?