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 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. . . .

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?

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

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

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

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

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

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.

Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?

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

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

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

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. . . .

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?

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. . . .

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

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

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

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?

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. . . .

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

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.

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 a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

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

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

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

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

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?

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.

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?

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

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

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

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.

Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?

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?

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 explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?

Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.

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. . . .

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. . . .

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

Explore the effect of combining enlargements.

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.

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?

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?