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

Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?

A circle is inscribed in an equilateral triangle. Smaller circles touch it and the sides of the triangle, the process continuing indefinitely. What is the sum of the areas of all the circles?

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

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

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 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?

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.

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value that the standard deviation can take?

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.

Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?

Mark a point P inside a closed curve. Is it always possible to find two points that lie on the curve, such that P is the mid point of the line joining these two points?

Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.

Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.

What's the largest volume of box you can make from a square of paper?

We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.

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

Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?

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

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. . . .

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?

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?

Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?

The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?

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. . . .

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. . . .

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

Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of procedures will help - variables not essential.

How efficiently can various flat shapes be fitted together?

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?

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. . . .

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.

See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.

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

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

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

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?

This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .

A circular plate rolls inside a rectangular tray making five circuits and rotating about its centre seven times. Find the dimensions of the tray.

A box of size a cm by b cm by c cm is to be wrapped with a square piece of wrapping paper. Without cutting the paper what is the smallest square this can be?

The net of a cube is to be cut from a sheet of card 100 cm square. What is the maximum volume cube that can be made from a single piece of card?

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?

Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.

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. . . .