Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Can you explain how this card trick works?
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?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
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?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
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?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter
(p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship
between p, i and the area of the polygons.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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. . . .
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
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. . . .
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 three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
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. . . .
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
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. . . .
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
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
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