A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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.
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
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
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?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could 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.
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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 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?
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.
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. . . .
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?
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.
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. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.
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. . . .
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
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.
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?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
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?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both has increased. How can this be so?