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

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Travelling Salesman

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start. How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?

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Instant Insanity

Age 11 to 18 Challenge Level:

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.

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Ding Dong Bell

Age 11 to 18

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.

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Fermat's Poser

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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One Out One Under

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

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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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Penta Colour

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

In how many different ways can I colour the five edges of a pentagon red, blue and green so that no two adjacent edges are the same colour?

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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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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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Paving Paths

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

How many different ways can I lay 10 paving slabs, each 2 foot by 1 foot, to make a path 2 foot wide and 10 foot long from my back door into my garden, without cutting any of the paving slabs?

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Wari

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

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Dice, Routes and Pathways

Age 5 to 14

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. . . .

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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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Icosian Game

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

This problem is about investigating whether it is possible to start at one vertex of a platonic solid and visit every other vertex once only returning to the vertex you started at.

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Sprouts

Age 7 to 18 Challenge Level:

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

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Euromaths

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

How many ways can you write the word EUROMATHS by starting at the top left hand corner and taking the next letter by stepping one step down or one step to the right in a 5x5 array?

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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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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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Baravelle

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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Framed

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

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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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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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An Unusual Shape

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?

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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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3D Stacks

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

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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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Tied Up

Age 14 to 16 Short Challenge Level:

How much of the field can the animals graze?

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Linkage

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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Charting More Success

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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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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Tetra Square

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

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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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Diagonal Dodge

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.

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Take Ten

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original?

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AMGM

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?

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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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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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Double Trouble

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...

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John's Train Is on Time

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?

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Corridors

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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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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Reflecting Squarely

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

In how many ways can you fit all three pieces together to make shapes with line symmetry?

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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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Tetrahedra Tester

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles. Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?

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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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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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Something in Common

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

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Clocking Off

Age 7 to 16 Challenge Level:

I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?

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The Development of Spatial and Geometric Thinking: 5 to 18

Age 5 to 16

This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .