Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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?”
Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
What is the total number of squares that can be made on a 5 by 5 geoboard?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = n² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter (p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship between p, i and the area of the polygons.
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
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.
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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.
Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?
Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated the difference between square 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.
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
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.
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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?
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The loser is the player who takes the last counter.
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain why and prove it?
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.
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?
Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3 touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
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. . . .