The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
Investigate the different ways that fifteen schools could have given money in a charity fundraiser.
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.
Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number of points each of their routes scores.
Try adding together the dates of all the days in one week. Now multiply the first date by 7 and add 21. Can you explain what happens?
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
Ben’s class were cutting up number tracks. First they cut them into twos and added up the numbers on each piece. What patterns could they see?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
A game for 2 players with similarities to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain why and prove it?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Try out this number trick. What happens with different starting numbers? What do you notice?
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to develop the skills of strategic planning.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Does this 'trick' for calculating multiples of 11 always work? Why or why not?
Take a look at the video of this trick. Can you perform it yourself? Why is this maths and not magic?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Find the sum of all three-digit numbers each of whose digits is odd.
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
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 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. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?