It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
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.
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight
from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by
99 square board?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
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. . . .
Can you find a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral triangles drawn on an isometric grid?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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. . . .
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?
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?”
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. . . .
A collection of games on the NIM theme
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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. . . .
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
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?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?