Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
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.
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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 out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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.
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 numbers?
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?
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?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
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
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
Can you explain how this card trick works?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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 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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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.
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
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
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?
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 the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is