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.
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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?
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which we can help learners move from being novice reasoners to expert reasoners.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
In this article for primary teachers we consider in depth when we might reason which helps us understand what reasoning 'looks like'.
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 discover whether this is a fair game?
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle now. . . .
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
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.
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number. Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?
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. . . .
Look at what happens when you take a number, square it and subtract your answer. What kind of number do you get? Can you prove it?
This article introduces the idea of generic proof for younger children and illustrates how one example can offer a proof of a general result through unpacking its underlying structure.
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
You have been given nine weights, one of which is slightly heavier than the rest. Can you work out which weight is heavier in just two weighings of the balance?
Use your knowledge of place value to try to win this game. How will you maximise your score?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
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?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them for yourself.
Consider the equation 1/a + 1/b + 1/c = 1 where a, b and c are natural numbers and 0 < a < b < c. Prove that there is only one set of values which satisfy this equation.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Gabriel multiplied together some numbers and then erased them. Can you figure out where each number was?
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.
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Look at three 'next door neighbours' amongst the counting numbers. Add them together. What do you notice?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
This article stems from research on the teaching of proof and offers guidance on how to move learners from focussing on experimental arguments to mathematical arguments and deductive reasoning.
Draw some quadrilaterals on a 9-point circle and work out the angles. Is there a theorem?
What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
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.
We have exactly 100 coins. There are five different values of coins. We have decided to buy a piece of computer software for 39.75. We have the correct money, not a penny more, not a penny less! Can. . . .