Can you explain how this card trick works?
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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?
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.
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who are even older than he is... When was he born?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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. . . .
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?
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?
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?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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.
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 three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
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.
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.
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. . . .
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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?
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.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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. . . .
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.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that cannot be made? How do you know?
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.
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!