Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

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.

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?

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?

For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

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

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?

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

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

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. . . .

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

Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?

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.

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?

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.

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?

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

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.

Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.

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

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?

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.

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

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?

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

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.

Explore the effect of combining enlargements.

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

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. . . .

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.

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?

Start with two numbers. This is the start of a sequence. The next number is the average of the last two numbers. Continue the sequence. What will happen if you carry on for ever?

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

In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?