Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
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.
The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
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.
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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 find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
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?
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.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain why and prove it?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 × 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so for. . . .
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?
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.
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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?
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.
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...