Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
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.
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?
Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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.
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.
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.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
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?
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?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
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 moves.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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. . . .
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
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.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?