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?
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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.
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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.
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?
I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
This article for primary teachers discusses how we can help learners generalise and prove, using NRICH tasks as examples.
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?
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?
Investigate the sum of the numbers on the top and bottom faces of a line of three dice. What do you notice?
This challenge encourages you to explore dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
Can you find a way of counting the spheres in these arrangements?
Can you figure out how sequences of beach huts are generated?
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. . . .
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.
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.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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?
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?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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?”
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?
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
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?
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Dave Hewitt suggests that there might be more to mathematics than looking at numerical results, finding patterns and generalising.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!