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?
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?
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.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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.
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
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?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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. . . .
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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.
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
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.
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
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.
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.
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?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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
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?
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. . . .
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
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?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
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 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?
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.
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?
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
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?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both has increased. How can this be so?
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?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.
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?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?