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.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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 explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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.
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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. . . .
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.
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?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
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.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
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.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100 squares? Can you find them all?
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.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Draw a square. A second square of the same size slides around the first always maintaining contact and keeping the same orientation. How far does the dot travel?
A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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.
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
Take a look at the video of this trick. Can you perform it yourself? Why is this maths and not magic?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
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?
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
Watch this animation. What do you see? Can you explain why this happens?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify predictions.