Watch this animation. What do you see? Can you explain why this happens?
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?
With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Can you find a way of counting the spheres in these arrangements?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
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 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.
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe the pattern? What would the next square look like?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
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.
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just like the one I have here?
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
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.
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?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
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.
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9, 12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
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.
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.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.