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. . . .
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 use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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?
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. . . .
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.
A game for 2 players
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?
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
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .
Mathematics is the study of patterns. Studying pattern is an
opportunity to observe, hypothesise, experiment, discover and
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 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?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the
patterns of play are similar.
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?
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 describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to
explain why this is possible.
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at
right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles
Given a 2 by 2 by 2 skeletal cube with one route `down' the cube.
How many routes are there from A to B?
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?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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?
We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
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?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
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 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. . . .
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?
Charlie and Alison have been drawing patterns on coordinate grids. Can you picture where the patterns lead?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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. . . .
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?
Lyndon Baker describes how the Mobius strip and Euler's law can
introduce pupils to the idea of topology.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?