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.
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
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. . . .
A connected graph is a graph in which we can get from any vertex to any other by travelling along the edges. A tree is a connected graph with no closed circuits (or loops. Prove that every tree has. . . .
What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?
Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2 digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to 10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
An article about the strategy for playing The Triangle Game which appears on the NRICH site. It contains a simple lemma about labelling a grid of equilateral triangles within a triangular frame.
How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube 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?
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. . . .
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.
Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.
Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
With n people anywhere in a field each shoots a water pistol at the nearest person. In general who gets wet? What difference does it make if n is odd or even?
The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .
Prove that the internal angle bisectors of a triangle will never be perpendicular to each other.
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how many of the other mini-challenges will you invent for yourself?
Which of these roads will satisfy a Munchkin builder?
The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
Show that for natural numbers x and y if x/y > 1 then x/y>(x+1)/(y+1}>1. Hence prove that the product for i=1 to n of [(2i)/(2i-1)] tends to infinity as n tends to infinity.
These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?
Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three squares.
Given a set of points (x,y) with distinct x values, find a polynomial that goes through all of them, then prove some results about the existence and uniqueness of these polynomials.
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
Fractional calculus is a generalisation of ordinary calculus where you can differentiate n times when n is not a whole number.
A introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
We continue the discussion given in Euclid's Algorithm I, and here we shall discover when an equation of the form ax+by=c has no solutions, and when it has infinitely many solutions.
In this article we show that every whole number can be written as a continued fraction of the form k/(1+k/(1+k/...)).
Peter Zimmerman from Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London gives a neat proof that: 5^(2n+1) + 11^(2n+1) + 17^(2n+1) is divisible by 33 for every non negative integer n.
When if ever do you get the right answer if you add two fractions by adding the numerators and adding the denominators?
If I tell you two sides of a right-angled triangle, you can easily work out the third. But what if the angle between the two sides is not a right angle?
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
Peter Zimmerman, a Year 13 student at Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London wrote this account of modulus arithmetic.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.