Great Problems for New Classes - September 2010, All Stages

This month we have chosen a selection of problems ideal for beginning problem-solving at the start of a new school year. These tasks help to break the ice and stimulate mathematical discussions. We hope they will help new classes to develop good mathematical habits of mind.

Problems

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Lots of Biscuits!

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Help share out the biscuits the children have made.

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Ip Dip

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

"Ip dip sky blue! Who's 'it'? It's you!" Where would you position yourself so that you are 'it' if there are two players? Three players ...?

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Triple Cubes

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.

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Follow the Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you add the digits of a number then multiply the result by 2 and you keep doing this? You could try for different numbers and different rules.

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Gran, How Old Are You?

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?

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Next Size Up

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

The challenge for you is to make a string of six (or more!) graded cubes.

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Shady Symmetry

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?

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Diminishing Returns

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

In this problem, we have created a pattern from smaller and smaller squares. If we carried on the pattern forever, what proportion of the image would be coloured blue?

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An Unusual Shape

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?

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Curvy Areas

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?

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Triangles and Petals

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

An equilateral triangle rotates around regular polygons and produces an outline like a flower. What are the perimeters of the different flowers?

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L-triominoes

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

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Weekly Challenges

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

The NRICH Stage 5 weekly challenges are shorter problems aimed at Post-16 students or enthusiastic younger students. There are 52 of them.

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Interactive Workout - Mathmo

Stage: 5 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Mathmo is a revision tool for post-16 mathematics. It's great installed as a smartphone app, but it works well in pads and desktops and notebooks too. Give yourself a mathematical workout!

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Curvy Catalogue

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Make a catalogue of curves with various properties.

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Turning to Calculus

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Get started with calculus by exploring the connections between the sign of a curve and the sign of its gradient.

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A Function of Gradient

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find curves which have gradients of +1 or -1 at various points