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

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?

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.

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?

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

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?

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

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?

An AP rectangle is one whose area is numerically equal to its perimeter. If you are given the length of a side can you always find an AP rectangle with one side the given length?

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. . . .

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

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.

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

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?

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

Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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?

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?

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?

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. . . .

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.

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?

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.

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. . . .

Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?

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?

What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =

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

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. . . .

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.

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. . . .

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

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.

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

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

What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

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.

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

It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

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

Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?