Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you
move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up
with the same arrangement?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what
you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which
seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the
foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you
go first or second?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how
many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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?
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?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
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?
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?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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?
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?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to
create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
How many different journeys could you make if you were going to
visit four stations in this network? How about if there were five
stations? Can you predict the number of journeys for seven