Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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.
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?
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.
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
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?
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.
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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
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.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
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?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
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?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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?
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?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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 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 ...?
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.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?