Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
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?
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 explain how this card trick works?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter (p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship between p, i and the area of the polygons.
Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
A game for 2 players
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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.
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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?
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?
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 three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
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. . . .
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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.
An account of some magic squares and their properties and and how to construct them for yourself.
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
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.
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?
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 counter is placed in the bottom right hand corner of a grid. You toss a coin and move the star according to the following rules: ... What is the probability that you end up in the top left-hand. . . .
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.