Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
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.
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.
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.
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
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.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
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?
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what happens in general.
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?
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.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
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. . . .
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.
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
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?
The diagram shows a 5 by 5 geoboard with 25 pins set out in a square array. Squares are made by stretching rubber bands round specific pins. What is the total number of squares that can be made on a. . . .
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
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.
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
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.
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?