Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
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.
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?
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.
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of
11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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?
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?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
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?
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.
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
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
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?
Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?
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
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
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?
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.
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
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.
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z
coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that
cannot be made? How do you know?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
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. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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?
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.
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.
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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
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.
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?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify