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 visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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 see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
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. . . .
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
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?
Which of the following cubes can be made from these nets?
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than algebra?
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.
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return, 400. . . .
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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 moves.
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
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?
A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.
A game for 2 players
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top, put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you predict the last card?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
In the game of Noughts and Crosses there are 8 distinct winning lines. How many distinct winning lines are there in a game played on a 3 by 3 by 3 board, with 27 cells?
The reader is invited to investigate changes (or permutations) in the ringing of church bells, illustrated by braid diagrams showing the order in which the bells are rung.
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.
Draw a square. A second square of the same size slides around the first always maintaining contact and keeping the same orientation. How far does the dot travel?
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?