Every day at noon a boat leaves Le Havre for New York while another boat leaves New York for Le Havre. The ocean crossing takes seven days. How many boats will each boat cross during their journey?
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
A bus route has a total duration of 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, two buses set out, one from each end. How many buses will one bus meet on its way from one end to the other end?
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
At the time of writing the hour and minute hands of my clock are at right angles. How long will it be before they are at right angles again?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
On a clock the three hands - the second, minute and hour hands - are on the same axis. How often in a 24 hour day will the second hand be parallel to either of the two other hands?
The image in this problem is part of a piece of equipment found in the playground of a school. How would you describe it to someone over the phone?
A train leaves on time. After it has gone 8 miles (at 33mph) the driver looks at his watch and sees that the hour hand is exactly over the minute hand. When did the train leave the station?
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
A cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is the most and least number of cubes required ?
Anne completes a circuit around a circular track in 40 seconds. Brenda runs in the opposite direction and meets Anne every 15 seconds. How long does it take Brenda to run around the track?
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than algebra?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
The reader is invited to investigate changes (or permutations) in the ringing of church bells, illustrated by braid diagrams showing the order in which the bells are rung.
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem, but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners) of a given triangle is a minimum.
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.
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
This article outlines the underlying axioms of spherical geometry giving a simple proof that the sum of the angles of a triangle on the surface of a unit sphere is equal to pi plus the area of the. . . .
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?
An introduction to bond angle geometry.
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return, 400. . . .
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
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.
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times you. . . .
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
A Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start. How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
A game for 2 players