When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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. . . .
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.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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 collection of games on the NIM theme
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
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Charlie and Lynne 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
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.
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.
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she
does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are
the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
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. . . .
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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
Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the
digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what
happens in general.
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?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of
adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain
why and prove it?
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?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what
you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number
you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number
you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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.
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?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the
next two rows?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
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. . . .
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
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.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
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?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
The diagram shows a 5 by 5 geoboard with 25 pins set out in a square array. Squares are made by stretching rubber bands round specific pins. What is the total number of squares that can be made on a. . . .
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle
numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
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 interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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?
Take any two digit number, for example 58. What do you have to do to reverse the order of the digits? Can you find a rule for reversing the order of digits for any two digit number?
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?