What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?

This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.

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.

A cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is the most and least number of cubes required ?

This article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .

The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.

A circular plate rolls in contact with the sides of a rectangular tray. How much of its circumference comes into contact with the sides of the tray when it rolls around one circuit?

Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners) of a given triangle is a minimum.

Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .

How can visual patterns be used to prove sums of series?

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. . . .

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?

Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?

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.

Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.

P is a point on the circumference of a circle radius r which rolls, without slipping, inside a circle of radius 2r. What is the locus of P?

This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!

A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will be produced using different wheels?

Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?

In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem, but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?

Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.

An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?

Four rods are hinged at their ends to form a convex quadrilateral. Investigate the different shapes that the quadrilateral can take. Be patient this problem may be slow to load.

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.

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. . . .

This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?

To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.

A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?

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.

A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.

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 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?

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?

Some treasure has been hidden in a three-dimensional grid! Can you work out a strategy to find it as efficiently as possible?

Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

The coke machine in college takes 50 pence pieces. It also takes a certain foreign coin of traditional design...

A and C are the opposite vertices of a square ABCD, and have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d), respectively. What are the coordinates of the vertices B and D? What is the area of the square?

Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?

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 make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?

This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.

Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.

Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?