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?
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. . . .
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3 touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?
What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?
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.
A game for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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.
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. . . .
A game for 2 players
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The loser is the player who takes the last counter.
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
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.
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?
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.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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.
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
A counter is placed in the bottom right hand corner of a grid. You toss a coin and move the star according to the following rules: ... What is the probability that you end up in the top left-hand. . . .
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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. . . .
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
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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.
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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.
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.