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. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
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. . . .
Mark a point P inside a closed curve. Is it always possible to find two points that lie on the curve, such that P is the mid point of the line joining these two points?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
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.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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. . . .
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.
A game for 2 players
Your data is a set of positive numbers. What is the maximum value that the standard deviation can take?
What's the largest volume of box you can make from a square of paper?
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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 find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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 game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
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?
How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?
Use the diagram to investigate the classical Pythagorean means.
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?
This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!
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. . . .
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.
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. . . .
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. . . .
Some treasure has been hidden in a three-dimensional grid! Can you work out a strategy to find it as efficiently as possible?
A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.
A box of size a cm by b cm by c cm is to be wrapped with a square piece of wrapping paper. Without cutting the paper what is the smallest square this can be?
How can visual patterns be used to prove sums of series?
Imagine a rectangular tray lying flat on a table. Suppose that a plate lies on the tray and rolls around, in contact with the sides as it rolls. What can we say about the motion?
Semi-regular tessellations combine two or more different regular polygons to fill the plane. Can you find all the semi-regular tessellations?
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?
This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .