What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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. . . .
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point
of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the
square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
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?
A game for 2 players
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
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is
covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom
right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being
visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes
so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times
you. . . .
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?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
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. . . .
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
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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.
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. . . .
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
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?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
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?
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex (corner) and
allowing it to hang freely. Now imagine you are lowering it into
water until it is exactly half submerged. What shape does the
surface. . . .
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two
different distances between them?
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. . . .
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?
A tilted square is a square with no horizontal sides. Can you
devise a general instruction for the construction of a square when
you are given just one of its sides?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
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?
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?