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?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3
digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits
you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
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?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number
of points each of their routes scores.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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.
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?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Put the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 into the squares so that the
numbers on each circle add up to the same amount. Can you find the
rule for giving another set of six numbers?
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?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
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. . . .
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
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?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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
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?