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

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?

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

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

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?

Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

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

To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.

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

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?

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

The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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.

Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.

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

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.

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

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

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

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

Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .

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

What's the largest volume of box you can make from a square of paper?

You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .

Explore the effect of combining enlargements.

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

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?

Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?

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. . . .

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

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.

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

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. . . .

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?