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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
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?
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.
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9, 12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
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.
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
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 describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
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?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
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...
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 tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
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. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
A game for 2 players
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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. . . .
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 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.
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.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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?
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.
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.
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. . . .
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?
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 Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.