Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

This is the second of two articles and discusses problems relating to the curvature of space, shortest distances on surfaces, triangulations of surfaces and representation by graphs.

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.

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. . . .

In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...

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?

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. . . .

Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry

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.

Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear. How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in pairs?

Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?

From a group of any 4 students in a class of 30, each has exchanged Christmas cards with the other three. Show that some students have exchanged cards with all the other students in the class. How. . . .

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.

I start with a red, a blue, a green and a yellow marble. I can trade any of my marbles for three others, one of each colour. Can I end up with exactly two marbles of each colour?

I start with a red, a green and a blue marble. I can trade any of my marbles for two others, one of each colour. Can I end up with five more blue marbles than red after a number of such trades?

There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?

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.

A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .

Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?

Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?

Look at three 'next door neighbours' amongst the counting numbers. Add them together. What do you notice?

What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?

This addition sum uses all ten digits 0, 1, 2...9 exactly once. Find the sum and show that the one you give is the only possibility.

Use your knowledge of place value to try to win this game. How will you maximise your score?

This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which we can help learners move from being novice reasoners to expert reasoners.

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.

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.

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

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?

Can you find different ways of creating paths using these paving slabs?

In this article for primary teachers we consider in depth when we might reason which helps us understand what reasoning 'looks like'.

Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many sheep there are in each field.

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.

In the following sum the letters A, B, C, D, E and F stand for six distinct digits. Find all the ways of replacing the letters with digits so that the arithmetic is correct.