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.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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.
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?
Baker, Cooper, Jones and Smith are four people whose occupations are teacher, welder, mechanic and programmer, but not necessarily in that order. What is each person’s occupation?
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. . . .
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.
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?
The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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. . . .
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
A, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection. Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?
Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
Can you find the areas of the trapezia in this sequence?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2 digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to 10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.
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. . . .
Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .
The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
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.
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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.
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?