It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
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 for. . . .
Watch this animation. What do you see? Can you explain why this happens?
Take a look at the video of this trick. Can you perform it yourself? Why is this maths and not magic?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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.
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.
15 = 7 + 8 and 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers?
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.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Does this 'trick' for calculating multiples of 11 always work? Why or why not?
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.
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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. . . .
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?
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 article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
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.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Watch this video to see how to roll the dice. Now it's your turn! What do you notice about the dice numbers you have recorded?
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. . . .
These tasks give learners chance to generalise, which involves identifying an underlying structure.
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
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?
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up with the same arrangement?
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?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the horizontal axis?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
This article for primary teachers discusses how we can help learners generalise and prove, using NRICH tasks as examples.