Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful
inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of
knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Choose any two numbers. Call them a and b. Work out the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are
the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it
rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
Three frogs hopped onto the table. A red frog on the left a green in the middle and a blue frog on the right. Then frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to. . . .
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
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
A game for 2 players
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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.
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
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 describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Draw a pentagon with all the diagonals. This is called a pentagram.
How many diagonals are there? How many diagonals are there in a
hexagram, heptagram, ... Does any pattern occur when looking at. . . .
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
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. . . .
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
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?
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?
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP
: PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED.
What is the area of the triangle PQR?
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?
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The
frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a
jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions
of. . . .
ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.
Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made from 27 unit cubes so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original 3 by 3 by 3. . . .
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form
a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is
the maximum area of the kite?
In a right angled triangular field, three animals are tethered to posts at the midpoint of each side. Each rope is just long enough to allow the animal to reach two adjacent vertices. Only one animal. . . .
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc
BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why
this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
In how many ways can you fit all three pieces together to make
shapes with line symmetry?
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?