How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
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.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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.
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.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
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?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
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?
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?