Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
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
What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right
angled triangle about the hypotenuse?
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. . . .
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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?
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
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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. . . .
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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.
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.
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?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
A game for 2 players
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.
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.
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. . . .
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect
squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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.
Find the vertices of a pentagon given the midpoints of its sides.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .
With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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. . . .
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle
numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the
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?