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?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
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.
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.
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?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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.
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any 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?
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?
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.
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
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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?
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?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number
of points each of their routes scores.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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?
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 when you round these three-digit numbers to the nearest 100?
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
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down
all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur
most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
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?
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?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
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. . . .
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?
Use two dice to generate two numbers with one decimal place. What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?