How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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?
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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 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?
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.
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?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
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.
Can you explain how this card trick works?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
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?
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?
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is
the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images
help to explain this?
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?
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?
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?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
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.
Draw a square. A second square of the same size slides around the
first always maintaining contact and keeping the same orientation.
How far does the dot travel?
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 find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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?
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.
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.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
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 ...?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?