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What's Possible?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?

Loopy

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Investigate sequences given by $a_n = \frac{1+a_{n-1}}{a_{n-2}}$ for different choices of the first two terms. Make a conjecture about the behaviour of these sequences. Can you prove your conjecture?

All Tangled Up

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?

More Twisting and Turning

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...

Areas of Parallelograms

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?

Games Related to Nim

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4

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.

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Cubes Within Cubes Revisited

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Tower of Hanoi

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.

Sum Equals Product

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Of All the Areas

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral triangles drawn on an isometric grid?

Multiplication Square

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

Pentagon

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Find the vertices of a pentagon given the midpoints of its sides.

Polycircles

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3 touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?

Pair Products

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

Chocolate 2010

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to eat chocolate. Multiply this number by 2...

Partitioning Revisited

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Equilateral Areas

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

ABC and DEF are equilateral triangles of side 3 and 4 respectively. Construct an equilateral triangle whose area is the sum of the area of ABC and DEF.

More Number Pyramids

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

Hypotenuse Lattice Points

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?

Semi-square

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Nim-like Games

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

A collection of games on the NIM theme

Nim-interactive

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

AMGM

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?

Nim

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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 loser is the player who takes the last counter.

Sums of Pairs

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”

Take Three from Five

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?

Janine's Conjecture

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .

Odd Differences

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = nÂ² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.

One, Three, Five, Seven

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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 a Spin

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?

Winning Lines

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.

Jam

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

A game for 2 players

Pentanim

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Plus Minus

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated the difference between square numbers?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who are even older than he is... When was he born?

Generating Triples

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?

Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

Square Pizza

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?

Gnomon Dimensions

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

These gnomons appear to have more than a passing connection with the Fibonacci sequence. This problem ask you to investigate some of these connections.

Beelines

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?

Building Gnomons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.

Chocolate Maths

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Egyptian Fractions

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.

Keep it Simple

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

What Numbers Can We Make Now?

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

Steel Cables

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

Multiplication Arithmagons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?