It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
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. . . .
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a
surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces
(top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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.
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.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
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?
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?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
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?
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?
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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 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.
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
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?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?