It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
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.
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.
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle
numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9,
12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
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?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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.
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
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. . . .
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
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. . . .
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?
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.
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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. . . .
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a
surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces
(top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
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?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
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
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
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 would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
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. . . .
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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. . . .
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
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. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of
adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain
why and prove it?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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?
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?
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
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?