The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
A game for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
Watch this animation. What do you see? Can you explain why this happens?
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to develop the skills of strategic planning.
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Can you dissect an equilateral triangle into 6 smaller ones? What number of smaller equilateral triangles is it NOT possible to dissect a larger equilateral triangle into?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
Stop the Clock game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you always win this game?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Florence, Ethan and Alma have each added together two 'next-door' numbers. What is the same about their answers?
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
If there are 3 squares in the ring, can you place three different numbers in them so that their differences are odd? Try with different numbers of squares around the ring. What do you notice?
Watch this video to see how to roll the dice. Now it's your turn! What do you notice about the dice numbers you have recorded?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.
One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
Can you find a way of counting the spheres in these arrangements?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?
This is a game for two players. Can you find out how to be the first to get to 12 o'clock?
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
What happens when you round these three-digit numbers to the nearest 100?
This activity focuses on rounding to the nearest 10.
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up with the same arrangement?
Use two dice to generate two numbers with one decimal place. What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is odd.
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.
How many different journeys could you make if you were going to visit four stations in this network? How about if there were five stations? Can you predict the number of journeys for seven stations?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?