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.
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
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. . . .
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.
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?
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 make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?
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?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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 blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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?
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?
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.
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
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.
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
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.
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?
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
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. . . .
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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. . . .
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?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
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. . . .
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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?
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?
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top, put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you predict the last card?
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.
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo lives?
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?
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?
In how many different ways can I colour the five edges of a pentagon red, blue and green so that no two adjacent edges are the same colour?
What 3D shapes occur in nature. How efficiently can you pack these shapes together?
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of procedures will help - variables not essential.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?