How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
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 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.
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.
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
In this problem we are looking at sets of parallel sticks that cross each other. What is the least number of crossings you can make? And the greatest?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
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?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
These tasks give learners chance to generalise, which involves identifying an underlying structure.
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Investigate the different ways that fifteen schools could have given money in a charity fundraiser.
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.
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?
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. . . .
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
Take a look at the video of this trick. Can you perform it yourself? Why is this maths and not magic?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
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?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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
Watch this animation. What do you notice? What happens when you try more or fewer cubes in a bundle?
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify predictions.
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.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.
Does this 'trick' for calculating multiples of 11 always work? Why or why not?
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you can predict what will happen.
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?