Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.

For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?

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?

Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?

Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

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 counter is placed in the bottom right hand corner of a grid. You toss a coin and move the star according to the following rules: ... What is the probability that you end up in the top left-hand. . . .

A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?

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?

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 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?

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?

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?

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 moves.

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.

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 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.

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?

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.

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.

Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?

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?

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.

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?

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

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?

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?

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. . . .

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.

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. . . .

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

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. . . .

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?

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?

Take any two digit number, for example 58. What do you have to do to reverse the order of the digits? Can you find a rule for reversing the order of digits for any two digit number?

An account of some magic squares and their properties and and how to construct them for yourself.

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.

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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

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?”