Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.

Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?

Dave Hewitt suggests that there might be more to mathematics than looking at numerical results, finding patterns and generalising.

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.

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.

Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?

Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?

The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 � 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so. . . .

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.

Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?

Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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 NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.

An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.

It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...

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

This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.

Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?

It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!

Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.

These tasks give learners chance to generalise, which involves identifying an underlying structure.

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

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.

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

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. . . .

Can you figure out how sequences of beach huts are generated?

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.

Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?

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

Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?

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.

Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?

This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.

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?

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?

Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

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?”

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

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.

Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who are even older than he is... When was he born?

A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100 squares? Can you find them all?

Alf Coles writes about how he tries to create 'spaces for exploration' for the students in his classrooms.

Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?

Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?