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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Visualising

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Flight of the Flibbins

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .

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Clocked

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?

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Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Age 5 to 18 Challenge Level:

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.

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Königsberg

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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How Many Dice?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .

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Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?

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All in the Mind

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex and allowing it to hang freely. What shape does the surface of the water make around the cube?

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Zooming in on the Squares

Age 7 to 14

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?

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Christmas Chocolates

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

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Tessellating Hexagons

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Which hexagons tessellate?

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Auditorium Steps

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?

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Steel Cables

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

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Christmas Boxes

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Find all the ways to cut out a 'net' of six squares that can be folded into a cube.

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Cubist Cuts

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A 3x3x3 cube may be reduced to unit cubes in six saw cuts. If after every cut you can rearrange the pieces before cutting straight through, can you do it in fewer?

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Triangle Inequality

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP must be less than 10 cm.

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3D Stacks

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?

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Convex Polygons

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.

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Painting Cubes

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Imagine you have six different colours of paint. You paint a cube using a different colour for each of the six faces. How many different cubes can be painted using the same set of six colours?

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Keep Your Distance

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?

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Tourism

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

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Bands and Bridges: Bringing Topology Back

Age 7 to 14

Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can introduce pupils to the idea of topology.

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Buses

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus meet on its way from one end to the other end?

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Cubes Within Cubes Revisited

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Konigsberg Plus

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

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Painted Cube

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?

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Dotty Triangles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Hidden Rectangles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?

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Picturing Triangular Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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Picturing Square Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

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Marbles in a Box

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?

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Coloured Edges

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?

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Crossing the Atlantic

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Every day at noon a boat leaves Le Havre for New York while another boat leaves New York for Le Havre. The ocean crossing takes seven days. How many boats will each boat cross during their journey?

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Intersecting Circles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?

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Drilling Many Cubes

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

A useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking about the formulae needed for generating the results on a spreadsheet.

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Is There a Theorem?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Route to Infinity

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?

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Squares in Rectangles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100 squares? Can you find them all?

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On Time

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

On a clock the three hands - the second, minute and hour hands - are on the same axis. How often in a 24 hour day will the second hand be parallel to either of the two other hands?

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Seven Squares

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?

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Dissect

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

What is the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected into?

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Tic Tac Toe

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Chess

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Weighty Problem

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

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An Unusual Shape

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?

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One and Three

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

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Rolling Triangle

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

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Icosagram

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

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Eight Hidden Squares

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Trice

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Around and Back

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .