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?

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

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.

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?

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.

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?

Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?

Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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

For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?

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?

Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?

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?

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

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?

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.

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.

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?

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?

A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?

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.

What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =

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. . . .

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.

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.

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. . . .

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...

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.

Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?

Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?

It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?

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?

It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?

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 find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?

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?

Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?

A package contains a set of resources designed to develop pupils’ mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on “generalising” and is designed to meet the. . . .