This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
For this task, you'll need an A4 sheet and two A5 transparent sheets. Decide on a way of arranging the A5 sheets on top of the A4 sheet and explore ...
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight hidden squares?
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall and work out a way they might fit together?
Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.
Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and create.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
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.
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
How can the same pieces of the tangram make this bowl before and after it was chipped? Use the interactivity to try and work out what is going on!
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number and an even number of paths to the same vertex?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
This article introduces the idea of generic proof for younger children and illustrates how one example can offer a proof of a general result through unpacking its underlying structure.
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.
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?
This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of activities required to develop this thinking.
Can you arrange the shapes in a chain so that each one shares a face (or faces) that are the same shape as the one that follows it?
Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.
What happens when you turn these cogs? Investigate the differences between turning two cogs of different sizes and two cogs which are the same.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?
If you can post the triangle with either the blue or yellow colour face up, how many ways can it be posted altogether?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?
These points all mark the vertices (corners) of ten hidden squares. Can you find the 10 hidden squares?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?
An extension of noughts and crosses in which the grid is enlarged and the length of the winning line can to altered to 3, 4 or 5.
Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?
Which of these dice are right-handed and which are left-handed?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?
Reasoning about the number of matches needed to build squares that share their sides.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this junk?
A game for 2 players. Given a board of dots in a grid pattern, players take turns drawing a line by connecting 2 adjacent dots. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent.
If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?
Can you cut a regular hexagon into two pieces to make a parallelogram? Try cutting it into three pieces to make a rhombus!
This article for teachers describes how modelling number properties involving multiplication using an array of objects not only allows children to represent their thinking with concrete materials,. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Wai Ping, Wah Ming and Chi Wing?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?