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.
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
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.
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
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she
does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are
the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
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.
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the
digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what
happens in general.
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
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?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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
The diagram shows a 5 by 5 geoboard with 25 pins set out in a square array. Squares are made by stretching rubber bands round specific pins. What is the total number of squares that can be made on a. . . .
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Watch this video to see how to roll the dice. Now it's your turn! What do you notice about the dice numbers you have recorded?
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?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
In how many different ways can you break up a stick of 7 interlocking cubes? Now try with a stick of 8 cubes and a stick of 6 cubes.
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?
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?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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.
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.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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 all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?