Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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 tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
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. . . .
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what
you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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. . . .
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.
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.
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.
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 collection of games on the NIM theme
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the
next two rows?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop
pupils’ mathematical thinking. This package places a
particular emphasis on “generalising” and is designed
to meet the. . . .
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
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
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?
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?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of
squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle
A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
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?
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you
move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up
with the same arrangement?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you
go first or second?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle
numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the
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.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Can you explain how this card trick works?