All types of mathematical problems serve a useful purpose in mathematics teaching, but different types of problem will achieve different learning objectives. In generalmore open-ended problems have. . . .
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?
In this challenge, you will work in a group to investigate circular fences enclosing trees that are planted in square or triangular arrangements.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
The red ring is inside the blue ring in this picture. Can you rearrange the rings in different ways? Perhaps you can overlap them or put one outside another?
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you can predict what will happen.
How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are next to each other in any direction?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
These pictures were made by starting with a square, finding the half-way point on each side and joining those points up. You could investigate your own starting shape.
Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral triangles.
This problem is intended to get children to look really hard at something they will see many times in the next few months.
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
Try continuing these patterns made from triangles. Can you create your own repeating pattern?
In this investigation, you must try to make houses using cubes. If the base must not spill over 4 squares and you have 7 cubes which stand for 7 rooms, what different designs can you come up with?
Vincent and Tara are making triangles with the class construction set. They have a pile of strips of different lengths. How many different triangles can they make?
This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Sort the houses in my street into different groups. Can you do it in any other ways?
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why not?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you find for me to take?
Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?
Arrange your fences to make the largest rectangular space you can. Try with four fences, then five, then six etc.
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
We went to the cinema and decided to buy some bags of popcorn so we asked about the prices. Investigate how much popcorn each bag holds so find out which we might have bought.
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?
Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?
Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.
Place four pebbles on the sand in the form of a square. Keep adding as few pebbles as necessary to double the area. How many extra pebbles are added each time?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
This challenge involves calculating the number of candles needed on birthday cakes. It is an opportunity to explore numbers and discover new things.
What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you try the other shapes?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
Make new patterns from simple turning instructions. You can have a go using pencil and paper or with a floor robot.
Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?
Explore Alex's number plumber. What questions would you like to ask? Don't forget to keep visiting NRICH projects site for the latest developments and questions.
This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Can you create more models that follow these rules?
We think this 3x3 version of the game is often harder than the 5x5 version. Do you agree? If so, why do you think that might be?
Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of sticks that make the most triangles?
Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are visible?